INFLUENZA

Yearly influenza epidemics are a serious public health problem worldwide contributing directly or indirectly to the four leading causes of global mortality at rates that are highest in older adults. (source)

For further information please contact your physician or pharmacist.

Key facts

  • Influenza (Flu) is caused by the group of viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae (3)
  • Outbreaks of influenza are known since ancient times (1)
  • Three types of influenza viruses, influenza A, B and C are capable of infecting humans (3)
  • In the elderly, infants and in people with chronic diseases influenza is associated with high mortality (1)

What is Influenza?

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. (2)

Where does Influenza occur?

Influenza epidemics emerge seasonally and typically occur during the winter seasons of the northern and southern hemispheres. (3)

Who is at risk of contracting Influenza?

Any person can get influenza through the droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. (2) Individuals with a weak immune system, children, elderly and immunocompromised patients are particularly vulnerable to influenza infection. (3)

What are the symptoms of Influenza?

Sign and symptoms of flu include: chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache, and fatigue. Influenza may or may not be accompanied by fever. (2,3)

How can Influenza be treated?

The primary objectives of influenza therapy are to prevent serious complications, shorten the illness and prevent the spread of the virus to other people. (4) Basic therapeutic measures recommended are bed rest, plenty of fluids and abstinence from alcohol and nicotine. (4,6) Medication such as antipyretic analgesic may relieve the flu symptoms (fever, headache and limb pain). (4) In early phases of the disease, administration of influenza-specific antiviral drugs, such as neuraminidase inhibitors, may also be an option for the therapy. (4,5) The most effective way to prevent influenza infection is by getting a flu vaccine every year.  (2,3)



References

  1. Taubenberger and Morens.The Pathology of Influenza virus infections. Annu Rev Pathol 2008; 3:499-522.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Key Facts About Influenza (Flu). cdc.gov
  3. Soema et. al. Current and next generation influenza vaccines: formulation and production strategies.
  4. Österreichische Ärzte Zeitung: PDF
  5. Bundesministerium für Gesundheit und Frauen, Grippe (Saisonale Influenza). www.bmgf.gv.at. Last accessed on May 2017.
  6. Wien.at: Magistrat der Stadt Wien, Saisonale Influenza (Grippe). www.wien.gv.at. Last accessed on May 2017.

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