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Pandemic Potential of a Strain of Influenza A (H1N1): Early Findings - Research Paper Example

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Pandemic Potential of a Strain of Influenza A (H1N1): Early Findings Abstract The rise of a new strain of influenza A referred to as A (H1N1) virus in February 2009 prompted health authorities in to discovering the pandemic potential of this strain. Although this pandemic was declared to be over in August 2010, future pandemics cannot be ruled out due to certain characteristics of the virus…
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Pandemic Potential of a Strain of Influenza A (H1N1): Early Findings
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Download file to see previous pages Following that will be a detailed study of each of the factors that affect pandemics which include transmissibility, genetic diversity, severity, preventive measures and treatments. Introduction Health authorities across North America were set into frenzy when it was discovered in February 2009 that a novel strain of Influenza A had been found in the diseased population of a small town in Mexico. This virus was earlier referred to as H1N1 but subsequent studies showed that this was a reassortant form of 1918 HIN1 and with this discovery came the possibility of the rise of a new strain of influenza that could behave in an unpredictable manner. The general media came to call this disease Swine Flu and the new strain was termed by scientists as A (H1N1) virus. Within a couple of months, countries around the globe began to report cases of swine flu and on 11th June 2009, WHO declared it to be a pandemic. Containment programs began across the globe which included isolation setups for confirmed or suspected cases, restricted travel and vaccination weeks. Studies were undertaken to find out the genetic and antigenic characteristics of the virus and transmissibility and virulence were looked upon in great detail in trying to predict the duration and severity of this pandemic. Although a lack of data collection networks in underdeveloped countries led to an inability to estimate the actual number of people affected, studies were able to predict that this pandemic will be mild and short-lived well before the pandemic was declared over in August 2010. However, assessing the pandemic potential of this relatively new strain of influenza A, H1N1 is extremely important in order to predict a pandemic-in-waiting. This is best possible by studying the information collected during the pandemic and this is what this paper aims to achieve. Pandemic Potential of a Strain of Influenza A (H1N1): Early Findings The influenza A strain of H1N1 also known as Swine flu, showed its first outbreak in early 2009 with the WHO declaring it to be a pandemic in June 2009. This call was taken back in august 2010 and the influenza pandemic was declared to be over. A look at the chronological developments in this pandemic is useful in assessing the trends that this pandemic has followed. Chronology of H1N1 pandemic Around 15th February 2009, the first case of this outbreak was reported in the town of La Gloria, Mexico and this was followed by 60% of the town’s population being affected by a respiratory illness of unknown nature. While the local authorities attributed this to H3N2 strain of influenza, at least one of these cases was reported to be caused by HIN1 strain. On March 17th 2009, the first case of flu due to H1N1 was confirmed in a Mexico. Meanwhile, authorities like CDC in USA continued to report on the new influenza activity in 35 states of USA but reported that the activity had not reached the point where it could be labeled an epidemic. On 1st of April 2009, the first confirmed case of ‘swine flu’, as it came to be called generally, was reported in a ten year old boy living in California. The next day, the Mexican authorities confirmed the first proven case of H1N1 in a four year old boy. On 12th April, the first known fatality of the outbreak, a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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