Introduction to Influenza outbreak in the community
The contagious sickness that causes influenza is the influenza virus. The symptoms can be mild, severe, or unnoticeable. For the management of an outbreak, it is crucial to comprehend the epidemiology and methods of disease transmission. This essay examines these factors as well as their effects on the neighborhood, reporting cases, and flu prevention.
Influenza outbreak in the community
The influenza virus is what causes the viral infection that goes by that name. Flu has reportedly been around for at least 1500 years, according to historical sources. One of the deadliest flu pandemics was in Hong Kong. Between one and four million people died as a result of this flu pandemic outbreak, which hit between 1968 and 1969. The CDC (2019) determined that the pandemic was brought on by the H3N2 strain of the influenza A virus. Records show that the first outbreak case was found on July 13, 1968, in British Hong Kong. The idea that the outbreak originated in mainland China before spreading to Hong Kong is backed up by a lot of evidence. The first indications of the virus spreading outside of Hong Kong were in the second week of August of the same year when a large number of groups in Singapore reported having influenza-like symptoms. The outbreak was noticeable at about the same time in Malaysia and the Philippines. Before the end of August, the Republic of Vietnam started to experience the outbreak.
According to the CDC, the first cases were found in the United Kingdom in early August (2019). In September 1968, additional occurrences took place in UK schools. The pandemic reached Thailand, Europe, northern Australia, and India during that month. In addition, a flu outbreak among visitors to Tehran’s Eighth International Congresses on Tropical Medicine and Malaria soon spread throughout Iran. In October, the pandemic hit Japan, primarily in educational settings. In December 1968, the outbreak became visible in the United States. The virus spread to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the middle of December (USSR). Records indicate that by 1969, South America and Africa had been affected by the pandemic.
Clinical infections of H3N2 occurred at varying rates. The overall attack rate in the United States, as established by public health officials, was 43%, according to Jester, Uyeki, and Jernigan (2020). A 40% attack rate was discovered in a research at Georgia State Prison looking at sickness attack rates among inmates. Only 10% of people at a senior community in California, in contrast, had symptoms. Jester et al. (2020) attribute the older age group’s low infection incidence to acquired immunity from previous pandemics. These conclusions are reinforced by serological research that revealed a considerable prevalence of antibodies to the virus in elderly people 65 years of age and older prior to the pandemic.
In contrast to prior influenza pandemics when the index cases were predominately in school children, the 1968 Hong Kong flu pandemic’s index cases were evenly distributed across school-age children and adults. 40% of those between the ages of 10 and 14 experienced clinical attacks, which was the highest rate. (Jester and others, 2020) Disease complications and the worsening of underlying chronic illnesses such congestive heart failure, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were the main causes of the high death rates in people 65 and older (COPD). The outbreak claimed roughly 100,000 lives in the US (Jester et al., 2020). Records also reveal that a sizable portion of those killed during the 1968 flu pandemic were under the age of 65. (Jester and others, 2020)
There were a number of risk factors for the 1968 flu pandemic, depending on the age and health of the exposed people. The CDC (2021) discovered that young children and those over 65 with chronic conditions were more likely to suffer effects from an influenza infection. Additionally, metabolic issues like diabetes and cardiovascular disorders increased the risk of influenza virus infection and death in older people. The second and third trimesters of pregnancy were found to enhance a person’s risk of influenza-related health issues relative to the first trimester. Bronchitis, otitis media, laryngotracheobronchitis, secondary bacterial pneumonia, and aggravation of pre-existing respiratory disorders were the most common adverse effects of influenza virus infection. Additional risk factors include transverse myelitis, pericarditis, and primary pneumonia. Importantly, some geographical areas, like West and Central Africa, were at higher risk for influenza death and morbidity due to inadequate pandemic preparedness.
Influenza outbreak in the community transmittal route
Because the influenza virus affects the upper respiratory tract and induces flu-like symptoms, respiratory secretions from infected persons with high viral loads can spread disease. When sneezing or coughing, large droplets of respiratory secretions containing the influenza virus can be released, which could help with transmission if the discharge comes into contact with another person (Moghadami, 2017). The likelihood of disease transmission increases when large respiratory discharge droplets settle on surfaces and travel across short distances, usually six feet or fewer. Furthermore, the influenza virus can be disseminated through aerosolization of minute secretory droplets with a high viral load. Adults who are healthy shed the virus for 24 to 48 hours until it stops after one week. The shedding hours are longer in older adults, those with weakened immune systems, and youngsters (Moghadami, 2017). Influenza can be spread through both direct and indirect contact, such as touching the mouth, nose, or eyes, or by coming into direct contact with respiratory secretions from an infected person.
Influenza outbreaks throw off the school calendar, which impairs students’ academic performance. The widespread school closings brought on by the influenza outbreaks hindered learning in many regions of the world. Many students skipped school as a result of the 1918–1919 influenza pandemic’s direct and indirect effects. Children with influenza had to temporarily miss school due to their illness and recovery timeframes (Meyers & Thomasson, 2021). Additionally, some parents choose to keep their children at home owing to their worry about infection and the spread of sickness. Geographically high-risk areas have a disproportionate impact on children since those kids are more likely to get sick and get infected than their classmates. In particular, children who are 14 years old or older who are entering the workforce in quest of a job are more likely to drop out of school when schools are closed for an extended period of time, ending their educational endeavors. Lower test scores are the outcome of lower educational attainment, which is detrimental to the student’s future success.
Influenza outbreaks have an effect on the local government by heightening prejudice, producing conflicts between the government and the public, and having an impact on politics. Recent research suggests that pandemics might worsen already-existing conflicts in a region, especially when there are weak leadership structures and a looming threat of violence (Madhav et al., 2018). Curfews and other pandemic control measures worsen already-present conflicts within local governments since they are greeted with increased opposition from the people, which leads to political unrest. These tensions may lead to unrest and violence. These conditions also endanger the lives of healthcare professionals since communities oppose intervention efforts and attack healthcare facilities. Political tensions grew during pandemics as a result of the population’s growing mistrust of government intentions, especially from the opposition. The local authority’s capacity to contain the epidemic is hampered by rising pandemic-related mortality and morbidity rates as more individuals fall ill with the influenza virus. Higher absenteeism rates and unstable leadership are the results of this.
The influenza epidemic breakout not only harmed educational institutions and local governments, but also businesses. According to Madhav et al. (2018), pandemics result in short-term, urgent financial shocks that have an effect on economic growth over the long term. Governments invest a lot of money on monitoring infection cases, managing quarantines, and capturing early-stage disease epidemic data. A large number of people and funds are required for these endeavors. States are also being forced to construct new facilities due to the widespread disease outbreaks in order to fulfill the increased demand for medical equipment and treatment as a result of the pandemic’s rising illnesses. The strain that taxes place on state budgetary reserves is reduced by spending growth. As a result, the government implements spending cuts that lower healthcare expenses and create budget shortfalls.
Hospitals are under a great deal of stress as a result of the growing demand for medical interventions and the influx of patients during illness outbreaks. Because of the depletion of resources brought on by increased demand, mortality and morbidity rates increase. The influenza pandemic also made it more difficult for people to receive medical care since other patients missed appointments because of curfews, fear related to transmission, and a lack of ability to travel because of a decline in economic activity. Importantly, when more “worried” and healthy people seek medical care, hospitals may become overcrowded out of fear of infection. Due to the diversion of funds to cover the costs of the pandemic, financing for other common medical procedures like immunization was curtailed, which led to an increase in fatality rates.
Influenza outbreak in the community reporting guidelines
To develop an accurate report that the healthcare system may utilize to react to disease outbreaks, thorough laboratory data are required. Every disease testing institution must have Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certification (CDC, 2022). Additionally, all of the state’s required equipment must be present at the testing sites so that the state may conduct the necessary tests and record both positive and negative results for reporting. The reporting process begins with the submission of the collected laboratory data to the state health departments, who subsequently send the data to the relevant agencies or the CDC after removing the individual’s personal identifiers from the data. Every day, the CDC must receive de-identified data from the public health organizations via the HL7 platform.
Influenza outbreak in the community Prevention techniques
The goal of the influenza virus prevention strategies is to stop the disease’s spread. The mainstay of preventing influenza sickness is vaccination. Annual vaccinations against diseases reduce the risk of infection and the severity of the sickness (Moghadami, 2017). Notably, the influenza virus is susceptible to mutation, necessitating immunization to strengthen the body’s defenses. Second, people who do not respond to immunizations should use antiviral chemoprophylaxis drugs like zanamivir and oseltamivir to prevent influenza infection. These drugs can be taken by healthy people, persons with chronic illnesses, and people who have impaired immune systems.
Furthermore, forming healthy habits like regular hand washing reduces the probability of transmission. Because influenza sickness is a seasonal flu-like virus, spreading the bacteria that cause it can be halted by routinely washing hands, sanitizing surfaces, and covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing (CDC,2021). Persons should avoid in close contact to sick people in order to reduce the risk of transmission. Staying at home or being isolated when ill reduces the risk of influenza transmission. It’s crucial to remember to wash your hands properly with soap and water to stop the virus from spreading. Instead of using water and soap, one can also use alcohol-based hand sanitizers to clean their hands of germs.
conclusion on Influenza outbreak in the community
Finally, the three previous flu pandemics demonstrate that respiratory viruses are more likely to be the root of outbreaks. The healthcare system is burdened by the cost of the influenza outbreaks, which also have a significant impact on other community systems. The burden on hospitals, businesses, local governments, and educational institutions is reduced when illness epidemiology, patterns of transmission, and risk factors are understood. Governments and healthcare systems should collaborate to ensure that there are sufficient resources available for crisis and pandemic management since viruses spread swiftly.
Francis, M. E., King, M. L., & Kelvin, A. A. (2019). Back to the future for influenza preimmunity—Looking back at influenza virus history to infer the outcome of future infections. Viruses, 11(2), 122.
Madhav, N., Oppenheim, B., Gallivan, M., Mulembakani, P., Rubin, E., & Wolfe, N. (2018). Pandemics: risks, impacts, and mitigation.
Mallory R. and Dillaha J. (2022). Outbreak Response/Epidemiology Influenza Weekly Report Arkansas 2021-2022. Arkansas Department of Health. Retrieved from https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/pdf/Weekly_Influenza_Report_Week_Ending_Saturday_May_14,_2022.pdf
Moghadami, M. (2017). A narrative review of influenza: a seasonal and pandemic disease. Iranian journal of medical sciences, 42(1), 2.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). 1968 pandemic (H3N2 virus). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1968-pandemic.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, 18th August). Pinkbook: Influenza. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 10th May, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/flu.html#:~:text=Influenza%20is%20an%20infectious%20viral,of%20influenza%20was%20in%201580
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, 26th August). Healthy habits to help protect against flu. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 11th May, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/actions-prevent-flu.htm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, 4th April). How to report COVID-19 Laboratory Data. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 11th May, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/lab/reporting-lab-data.html
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