Influenzais a viral infection that affects mainly the nose, throat, bronchi and,occasionally, lungs. Infection usually lasts for about a week, and ischaracterized by sudden onset of high fever, aching muscles, headacheand severe malaise, non-productive cough, sore throat and rhinitis.
Thevirus is transmitted easily from person to person via droplets andsmall particles produced when infected people cough or sneeze. Influenzatends to spread rapidly in seasonal epidemics.
Mostinfected people recover within one to two weeks without requiringmedical treatment. However, in the very young, the elderly, and thosewith other serious medical conditions, infection can lead to severecomplications of the underlying condition, pneumonia and death.
Pandemic(H1N1) 2009 is a new influenza virus that has never circulated amonghumans before. After outbreaks in North America early in 2009, the virusspread rapidly around the world. Pandemic influenza is transmitted likeseasonal influenza but people have virtually no immunity to it.Mitigating its effects is a public health priority.
For additional information, check out the following links:
World Health Organization - Influenza & H1N1
Pandemic Phase Descriptions and Main Actions by Phase
World now at the start of 2009 influenza pandemic
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