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Leadership Style Paper

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Communicable Disease Paper

Harriet Sanders

HCS/457

February 14, 2011
Lindsay Cogan

Communicable Disease

Influenza is a communicable disease or a respiratory illness that affects millions of people during the winter season. Most physicians believe that influenza is spread by droplets when people sneeze, cough, and talk without covering their mouth. The droplets usually land directly on an individual, or on surfaces, and even food. The symptoms of the influenza includes fever, cough, sore throat, muscle or body aches, fatigue, runny nose, and, or a stuffy nose. Diarrhea is also a common symptom of influenza. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010). Recommendations on preventing the spread of influenza include receiving a vaccination each season. Currently there are different types of vaccine available for the seasonal flu, which one of the vaccines is dead and the other is alive. The seasonal flu shot can be taken by everyone who is six months of age and older. The nasal spray vaccine is a live weak flu virus, which can be used by individuals who are healthy, not pregnant, and between the ages of two years old and 29.

Some people have a greater risk at contracting the influenza virus such as elderly individuals or very young, pregnant, and have another underlying disease, such as diabetes, or asthma. The influenza virus is a very serious disease, and may result in death. It is estimated that the 2009 H1N1 pandemic resulted in more than 12,000 flu-related deaths in the U.S. In contrast to seasonal flu, nearly 90 percent of the deaths occurred among people younger than 65 years of age (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010). Resources are available to assist with the treatment and care of individuals who are at risk or already have the influenza virus. Community health departments are available for those who are in the low income bracket or don’t have a private doctor or health insurance. The local health departments offer free advice on how to prevent the spread of influenza. They also offer free flu shots for those who qualify. Walgreens, CVS, Publix, Wal-Mart and other local stores offer flu shots for a small fee, usually around ten dollars. The immediate med centers in the local communities also are a valuable resource for current influenza information. Environmental factors related to the influenza virus include birds, food such as poultry, and the weather, and among others. The H5N1 subtype of the influenza A virus was initially detected in poultry on a farm of Scotland, UK, in 1959 (Fang, 2011). The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus reappeared in 1997 and caused an outbreak in chicken farms and live bird markets in Hong Kong, where 18 human cases were reported with 6 deaths (Fang, 2011).

References
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Seasonal Flu. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov.
Fang L-Q, de Vlas SJ, Liang S, Looman CWN, Gong P, et al. (2008) Environmental Factors Contributing to the Spread of H5N1 Avian Influenza in Mainland China. PLoS ONE 3(5): e2268.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002268

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