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Types of Seasonal Influenza and Preventive measures

Mar 31, 2017

Types of Seasonal Influenza and Preventive measures

Seasonal influenza is an acute respiratory infectious disease caused by Influenza viruses. The disease spreads easily from person to person through droplet infection, disseminates worldwide and can affect any age group. In temperate climates, the people are mostly affected in winter season, whereas in tropical climate, the disease can occur at any time of the year. The disease can be mild but it can reach epidemic and even pandemic proportions and can cause deaths.

3 types of seasonal influenza viruses are found: types A, B, and C. Influenza type A viruses are further classified into subtypes influenza A (H1N1) or A (H1N1) pdm09 and A (H3N2). A (H1N1) had caused a pandemic in 2009. Influenza B viruses can be classified into 2 main groups B/Yamagata and B/Victoria. Influenza type C virus is detected rarely and cause mild infections. Influenza viruses’ types A and B pose severe public health threat.

The incubation period of the disease is around 2 days and signs and symptoms include fever, headache, cough, malaise, muscle and joint pain, sore throat, runny nose.

Prevention And Treatment

The best way to prevent the influenza is vaccination. WHO recommends annual vaccination for children aged between 6 months to 5 years, elderly people above 65 years of age, health-care workers, and pregnant women. From the year 2013-14, WHO has recommended Quadrivalent vaccines for influenza which contains two subtypes of influenza A viruses and one influenza B virus 2nd influenza B virus. Live attenuated vaccine is also available in form of nasal spray.

Antiviral drugs like laninamivir, oseltamivir, peramivir, zanamivir etc., are available in the market for treatment. M2 proton channel blockers adamantanes like rimantadine and amantadine are frequently being reported to being failures as viruses are becoming resistant. Hence WHO has recommended neuraminidase inhibitors as the first-line of drugs in anti viral therapy.

Latest Developments

In January-February, 2017 CDC reported that seasonal influenza has become an epidemic in the US with 15.4 hospitalizations due to flu related diseases per 100,000 people.

Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.

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