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Epidemiology

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Topics: Influenza, Pandemic
The 2009 H1N1 influenza (flu) was first detected in California, in the United States in April 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2010). By mid-April the same year, two other patients 130 miles apart were identified to have the virus. This raised concern that the virus was rapidly spreading and posing a major threat to the human population. The same cases were also reported in Canada and Mexico. On April 25, 2009, the director general of World health Organization declared H1N1 a health emergency of international concern (CDC, 2010). By May 2009, more than 40 countries had reported cases of the virus, with more than 13000 cases reported in total. This clearly shows that the virus is indeed a global problem. Given that the above issue is of global concern, there is need for science, practice and policy to be brought together to address the problem. First through science, adequate research into the problem will be conducted (Shonkoff, 2000). This will help answer questions relating to the nature of the virus, causes and possible treatment options. Secondly, data obtain through research, given by scientists can be used to persuade policy makers to develop the necessary policies that will help to collectively address the problem. For example, such policies could focus on the role each nation needs to play to stop the spread of the disease. Finally, through practice, health workers and service providers can provide the much needed knowledge about the epidemic (Shonkoff, 2000). This is the professional experience that can be used to understand the virus, causes and the best treatment modalities. Therefore, when these three are brought together, a holistic approach to the problem can be taken. Epidemiological resources can provide critical information in addressing this problem. These resources could help understand why certain populations or groups are affected by the virus. Such information will help understand the particular traits, practices or behaviors in these groups that expose them to the virus, and this will help address the problem. Secondly, epidemiological resources could help prevent further spread of the virus by controlling the already affected population. For example, if the identified population is well treated and the movement controlled, its spread to other regions will be limited.

References Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010, June 16). The 2009 H1N1 Pandemic: Summary Highlights, April 2009-April 2010. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/cdcresponse.htm

Shonkoff, J.P. (2000). Science, Policy, and Practice: Three Cultures in Search of a Shared Mission. Child Development, 71(1) pp. 181-187. Retrieved from http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/irpweb/initiatives/trainedu/igrfp/readings05/Shonkoff2000.pdf

References: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010, June 16). The 2009 H1N1 Pandemic: Summary Highlights, April 2009-April 2010. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/cdcresponse.htm Shonkoff, J.P. (2000). Science, Policy, and Practice: Three Cultures in Search of a Shared Mission. Child Development, 71(1) pp. 181-187. Retrieved from http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/irpweb/initiatives/trainedu/igrfp/readings05/Shonkoff2000.pdf

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