Essay on Epidemiology of Influenza

Published: 2021/11/11
Number of words: 2402

Epidemiology refers to the scientific study of a disease, the ways the disease spreads and the determinants causes or risk factors of the disease in a given population, which may be a school. Neighborhood, school or a city. The main objectives of epidemiology is to carry out public surveillance, field investigation, analytic studies, evaluation and the linkages of the diseases and the behavior of the patients. Epidemiology is meant to understand the relation between the social activities of an individual and the occurrence of the diseases.


Communicable diseases are viewed as illnesses that are caused by bacteria or viruses that are spread from one host to another. The spread only occurs through the contact with body fluids, contaminated surfaces, blood products, and bites from insects and even through the air. Most of the communicable diseases are spread from one person to another through the spread of the bacteria and viruses through insect bites, sexual intercourse, and skin contact with the host and coming into contact with fomites that are contaminated. Influenza is one of the most common communicable diseases.

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Influenza is a very common infection by the virus that affects the respiratory system, which includes the lungs, throat and the throat of an individual. This viral infection is said to be spread mostly by the droplet created by people when they sneeze, talk or cough. When these droplets fall on people who are close to the person with the viral infection, they are vulnerable to the infection and may acquire the infection as well. Touching the mouth, nose or eyes after touching surfaces with the flu virus may result in an individual catching the virus. This however does not take place in most cases. Influenza is most likely to be contagious even before the signs and symptoms start to show in the patient. Generally, any person is at risk of developing influenza but the children and the weaker community as at a higher risk of getting infected with the flu. Pregnant women are also more likely to develop the flu especially during their second and third semesters.

The symptoms of influenza include a running nose, sore throats and sneezing. Influenza appears as a common cold. The symptoms listed are the symptoms that are visible at the early stages of the communicable disease. As the disease develops however, there are more symptoms that are clear in the body of the patient. Some of these symptoms include a fever, chills and sweat, muscle aches and headaches sore throats, dry persistent coughs and nasal congestion. Fatigue and general weakness are also signs and symptoms that are clear in the body of the patient that comes with the development of the disease. Mostly, these symptoms go away after a period of about two weeks and do not have long- lasting effects. However, high- risk children and adults are usually at risk of ear infections, heart problem, bronchitis and asthma flare- ups.

There are ways in which one can prevent the occurrence of influenza on a patient. One of these ways is through vaccination. The centers of disease control mainly recommends that there should be an annual vaccination against influenza for all people who are above the age of 6 months. This is to help reduce the number of people who are not affected by the virus or those who are at risk of being infected by other hosts. There is however no way of treating the disease. The most advised medical methods of the treatment of influenza is through taking antiviral drugs which include zanamivir and oseltamivir (Reeth et al., 2016). Pain relievers are also important in dealing with the body aches and headaches that are attached to influenza. There are pain killers that are however not suitable or recommended for children who are below the age of twelve years such as aspirin. The morbidity and mortality f influenza helps determine the severity of the disease. Between five to twenty percent of the entire population in the United States get influenza in a year. Out of these people, approximately 200000 people in the United States are hospitalized with cases of influenza with 3000 to 49000 people dying with reports of causes related to influenza (Kahana, and Yamin, 2019).

With the rise in the COVID- 19 cases, influenza, being in close relation with the corona virus disease is a reportable disease. The deaths and cases that are suspected to be influenza should be reported to the medical practitioners to allow for room for the diagnosis and research to be carried out to decide whether or not there is a need to be worried about the cases.

Social Determinants of Influenza

There are a number of social determinants that determine the occurrence of influenza in the general public. The age of the individual is one of the determinants. As stated earlier, the general population is usually at a higher risk of developing influenza. The children and the older adults however are at a higher risk of developing influenza as compared to the other people. Therefore, the younger and older people are at a higher risk of getting the flu. Race and ethnicity is also related to the flu. The ethnicity of individuals is said to be the markers of health of different individuals. A huge difference on the proportion of the Americans affects the vaccination procedures of the different populations and this in turn poses a risk to the individuals (Marmot, 2018). The different individuals from the different ethnic group have a difference in the way they react to the vaccination. The health literacy is also an important factor in understanding the development of the disease. The socio- economic status of the people also determines whether they are set and ready to take up the vaccines available. Patients with a lower income tend to go for the cheaper vaccine while those with a higher income go for the vaccine that is stronger and assures them more protection. This therefore results in the infection of the people with a lower income as compared to those with higher incomes. The presence of chronic diseases also pose risks to the patient. The chronic diseases render the patient vulnerable to other cases and may lead in the easier exposure to the flu. Therefore, those patients with other chronic diseases such as diabetes are more exposed to the flu as compared to those who do not have the chronic diseases. The different ethnic groups also have different beliefs in vaccination. There are those populations that do not support any scientific findings. These populations do not support the use of vaccination to prevent diseases. As a result, they tend to be against the use of vaccines to prevent occurrence of diseases and this in turn exposes them to the different diseases.

The epidemiologic triangle of a disease is important in understanding and creating a picture of an illness that is transmissible, it also brings out the communication of the agent, host and environment giving a visual guide in controlling the transmission and preventing the spread of the disease by through disturbing the equalization of the triangle. The influenza virus is the causative agent, while the human being is the host for the flu infection. The virus attacks the host cell and takes control over the capacity of the cell to reproduce. The influenza viruses are resistant and versatile and low temperature and humidity support the drop transmission. Flue infection rates in the tropical climates is connected with the increased precipitation. During the harsh weather, individuals invest more energy inside ad this expands the interaction between the humans. The increased interaction increases exposure to the beads which convey the influenza infection. The epidemiologic triangle is used to break the chain o the flu disease, as the immune- compromised can be contagious for a considerable amount of time.

Role of the Community Health Nurse

The Institute of Medicine characterizes the wellbeing as that the general public does and guarantees that an individual can be healthy. The nurse is expected to use the epidemiologic triangle with the nursing procedure to reduce the effects and quantities of flu cases in the community. The assessment phase is utilized collect and come up with information that is used to understand the needs of the community and the needs that can be accessed in the community. Through the collection and interpretation of the information on the flu, the nurse is able to take part in the flu case findings and serves as minor trends. The diagnostic phase is used to translate and understand the data and is the base for the plan for the intervention of the flu. The nurses has the responsibility to make home visits, from which the nurse plans for the strategies to deal with the hindrances to vaccination. Primary prevention also helps incorporate instructions on cleanliness, the way the viral infection is transmitted and the inoculation. The secondary prevention distinguishes those in the community who are infected and conceivably the caring for those who feel at risk of getting secondary infection by administration of the antiviral medication (Jones, 2020). The demographic data is important in ensuring that the nurses keep a record of the success made in dealing with the flu. The rate of the influenza is studied through the spread and the rate at which the viral infection is spread from one host to the other.

National Agencies Addressing Communicable Diseases

The centers of disease control is one of the association which advance flu awareness and prevention. This association came up with a program which works with other international entities like the World Health Organization to develop the capacity to react to the pandemic and seasonal flu outbreaks. The program is known as the Influenza Division International Program. The plan of this program is to reduce the risk factors that individuals are expose to contracting the flu by giving individuals the transmission precautions and the prevention of the flu infection. The CDC helps in the reduction of the danger of a pandemic through studying the spread of the disease and coming up with ways to stop the spread and ways of prevention (Albejaidi, and Nair, 2021). The CDC can also advance the treatment of patients which is through perceiving the variables connected with pathogenesis and clinical seriousness. The effect can be made on the general wellbeing of the population on both local and global scale. From the study, the influenza flu has proven to be incredibly destructive and its ability to evolve keeps the health organizations closely attentive to the immunizations, advancement and the training on the containment measures. Through the use of the epidemiologic triangle, a more all- encompassing picture of communicable disease, both the individual health care professional and the public health organization can help stem the tide against a potent viral agent.

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Global Implication of Influenza

Influenza disease poses a huge threat to the health of the globe. There is an estimate of about 1 billion cases of influenza all over the world. Within this range, there are three to five million severe cases and a total of 290000- 650000 that are as a result of the influenza viral infection (Iarocci, 2021). This has therefore led in the decline in the population, which is as a result of the resistance and the spread of the influenza disease. The rate of infection of this virus also results in the reduced production of individual. The infection is connected with a number of symptoms such as general body weakness, sore throats and headaches, which may be a challenge to the normal functioning of an individual. This has therefore reduced in the general decline in the economy, which is as a result of the decline in the production of the populations. The virus has been said to survive in areas with warm and cool climates. Therefore in areas where there is the increased precipitation, the resistance of the virus is higher as compared to areas with lower precipitation. This means that the virus can be endemic to areas with warm and cool climate. They provide a good and favorable environment for the virus to grow and multiply.

Influenza is mostly taken lightly by most of the populations around the globe, however, with the statistics stated above on the number of infections and deaths that are as a result of the influenza viral infection. It is important that individuals ensure that they watch the behavior that helps prevent themselves from the infections. Some of the behaviors that help prevent the infection include covering the mouth when coughing to prevent the spread from one host to another (Varman et al., 2019). Washing of the hands frequently is also a behavior that helps wash off the viruses.


Albejaidi, F., & Nair, K. S. (2021). Addressing the burden of non-communicable diseases: Saudi Arabia’s challenges in achieving vision 2030. Journal of Pharmaceutical Research International, 34-44.

Iarocci, L. (2021). The city as Field hospital and the influenza epidemic in Seattle, USA, 1918– 19. Epidemic Urbanism: How Contagious Diseases have Shaped Global Cities, 125-134.

Jones, R. (2020). Nursing in the community: The potential of the community nurse role in one health. BSAVA Congress Proceedings 2020, 287-288.

Kahana, D., & Yamin, D. (2019). Accounting for the spread of vaccination behavior to optimize influenza vaccination programs. SSRN Electronic Journal

Marmot, M. (2018). Medical care, social determinants of health, and health equity. World Medical & Health Policy10(2), 195-197.

Reeth, K. V., Vincent, A. L., & Lager, K. M. (2016). Vaccines and vaccination for swine influenza: Differing situations in Europe and the USA. Animal Influenza, 480-501.

Varman, M., Pietruszka, S. T., & Lehan, K. (2019). Pertussis and influenza cocooning immunization strategies. Handbook of Pediatric Infection Prevention and Control, 231-238.

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