Influenza(flu) is caused by the influenza viruses.There are 3 main types of the viruses, namely A,B and C.These viruses have many different serotypes due to the presence of different chemical markers on their viral coat.
Influenza is transmitted via the airborne route when an infected patient coughs or sneezes and release droplets containing the virus into the air.
After an incubation period of 1-3 days, sore throat accompanied by hoarseness will be experienced. The patient may also experience headache,fever, chills, muscle achesdue to the toxic products produced by the virus.Occasionally, diarrhea and vomitting may manifest. Secondary bacterial infefction may follow due to the weakening of the immune system.
Supportive treatment is only neede for minor cases.For Influenza A, amantadine hydrochlororide or rimantadine can be used to treat the disease.Antibiotics may be needed for secondary bacterial infection.
The virus being highly infectious,spreads easily.Consequently, quarantine is useless.However, vaccines are available but new ones must be developed every year due to the new forms of the virus appearing.
Influenza comes from the word "influence".The ancient people thought that influenza was actually being under the influence of stars.A new flu virus may be formed when two different viruses recombine in the same cell, and be a cause of a new epidemic.