Flu Pandemic

Flu Prevention

Influenza has resulted in the death of millions of people over the years. Indeed, the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918 is has killed over 40 million people. Apart from it, there have been two other flu pandemics in the previous century each killing over a million people. Also, many epidemics of flu are known to occur at various places each year. Thus, it is clear, that it is necessary to take some measures to prevent the spread of this disease. Let us have a look at some of the measures that have been adopted for the same.

Measures taken by Flu Prevention

One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of any disease is by the means of vaccination. In case of flu prevention as well, many vaccines have been developed. The vaccines for influenza are regulated by WHO Global Influenza Surveillance Network. The Network works along with the NICs National Influenza Centers, carries out analysis of the various virus strains collected from different parts of the world.
Based on this analysis, the network comes up with a composition of of the flu vaccine. The composition of the vaccine is different for each hemisphere and is specified at different times in the year, just before the start of the flu season in it.
It is usually recommended that individuals, who are above 65 years of age, infants below 5 years of age, individuals with chronic illnesses, pregnant women etc. should take the flu vaccine especially at the beginning of the flu season. The governments of many countries also provide free vaccines to such individuals in an effort towards flu prevention.
Some of the other measures that can be taken at a personal level for flu prevention are as follows:

Problems face in Flu Prevention

The Influenza virus is divided in three types viz. A, B and C. each of these classes have many subtypes and these subtypes, in turn have many strains belonging to them. Thus, rather than by a single virus, influenza is caused by a large group of viruses. Each of these strains have varying characteristics and hence, a single vaccine would not work against them. Manufacturing these many different vaccines is not an easy task.
Also, these viruses can undergo mutations and develop into new strains, that have some protection against the vaccines, thus making the vaccines ineffective. Even if a new vaccine is developed in time, distributing it to areas, that face a risk of influenza epidemics, is a difficult task.
Lastly, as influenza affects animals and birds as well, its spread cannot be curbed completely, by coming up with a vaccine for humans alone. Developing and administering vaccines to all birds and animals is an impossible task.
Thus, it can been seen, that prevention of influenza is very difficult. Hence, we on our part should do as much as possible to prevent its spread.