Influenza and Pandemic Social Problem

Topics: Influenza, Pandemic, Avian influenza Pages: 4 (1059 words) Published: January 22, 2006
A social problem under great scrutiny at the moment is the potential for a pandemic that would result from an avian flu outbreak. At first this met the definition of social problem because it was defined by a influential individuals but with the the media saturation they have been joined by a significant number of the general population that believe that this is pressing social situation also. The World Health Organization was putting out warnings about the potential for outbreak over a year ago but it is the recent media blitz that has focused the public's attention to the problem. The problem has been framed not from a scientific stand point but also in a large part from a historical stand point. The most recent pandemic occurred in 1968 and mild compared to the 1957 outbreak or the killer strain of 1918. The 1918 outbreak is the most well known and most virulent in recent history. Following the historical pattern of pandemic outbreaks we are now in the window for the next one to occur. Official's state that is not a matter of if a pandemic will occur but when. Most of the press on the subject only discusses a virulent strain of flu outbreak which is fueled by the rise of the avian flu cases in Asia. But pandemics can also be mild or moderate depending on the how much the flu strain has mutated.. I think for the general public the word pandemic has become synonymous with a killer outbreak instead of its correct meaning of a widespread abnormal rate of infection. Trying to estimate the effects a killer flu can be difficult. The number of people that are anticipated to die from an outbreak ranges from 2 million to 7 million. Some more alarmist articles put the numbers even higher. The economic effects in today's global economy are high also. To give us an idea of the effect on a much smaller scale the SARS outbreak in Canada in 2003 infected 438 people of which 43 died. It is estimated that during the six month period of the outbreak cost the nation's economy...
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