Introduction | The Virus | Strains | Antegenic Shift/Drift | Symptoms | H5N1 | Infection | Resevoirs of Infection | Conclusion
All over the world, influenza, which is the scientific name for flu, is periodically being spreaded in the forms of local outbreaks and small-sized epidemics throughout the years. However, periods of time with high amount of humidity tend to allow the influenza virus to transmit more rapidly. The infection of the influenza virus may occur with or without any warning and subsequently, the number of people infected by the virus in an epidemic can be as small as a few hundreds of people or as many as hundreds of thousands of people.
Epidemics can be short-lived or long-lived. Short-lived epidemics last only for a few days or weeks but long-lived epidemics, also known as pandemics, can last for months. For most people, the influenza virus may appear only to be a mild disease which can be cured within days. However, for the elderly and the sick, the influenza virus is a life threatening disease.
It is important for all of us to prevent epidemics from occurring as much as possible as a widespread of the virus will result in large losses in work productivity and a downslide in the world economy. Therefore, the World Health Organisation (WHO) plays its part by establishing an international network to connect world laboratories for research and monitoring of the antigenic changes in the surfaces of the influenza virus and the extent to which the virus is spreading in the world.