Influenza Virus

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BIO204
02-25-13
Discussion One

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Each year the influenza virus will infect anywhere between 5-20% of our Nations population and upwards of 200,000 will become hospitalized for further treatments from complications.  Most cases can occur between the months of October through May among those January and February is the peak months of the flu season.  People most at risk of complications are the elderly above 65 years or older, children younger than 2 years old, and anyone who have chronic health conditions. The influenza viruses are a respiratory illness that is a contagious infection that could be mild to severe in most cases but can lead to death if untreated.  When you are infected you can be contagious from the day before symptoms appear up to seven days later. Most time the viruses spread from face to face contact with someone who is infected but the virus can also be passed on if touching a contaminated surface and then touching one’s mouth, eyes, or nose.  The virus could last between one to two weeks before symptoms subside. The best way to minimize your chances of contracting an influenza virus is to get the flu vaccine each year.  The flu vaccine was first isolated in 1930’s and during the 1940’s a vaccine was produced.  Today, flu vaccines are available by shot or nasal spray.  Currently scientist at NIAID are clinically testing the idea of an universal influenza vaccine that will combat any and all strains of flu viruses but more testing in needed. Hopefully with this medical advancement there will not be as many people getting sick from these constantly evolving viruses. References:

http://www.flu.gov/#
http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/flu/Pages/default.aspx
 
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