Mutations which produce small changes in antigens are referred to as antigenic drift and these occur in the same strain
Mutations which result in a major change and produce new strains are referred to as antigenic shifts
The virus is spread by inhalation or by direct contact.
Reservoirs of infection are primarily humans, but birds and pigs can act as reservoirs.
The multiple host status makes for mixing of flu types.
Public education campaigns are used to reduce infection rates
Isolation of infected people is desirable but not always practical
Vaccines are offered to people aged 65 or over (Note: Currently this group has some immunity and are not being targeted)
Clinically at risk groups – asthatics, immuno-compromised patients, diabetics, people with chronic respiratory disease.
Health care workers
Vaccine effectiveness varies between 40 – 60%
Tamiflu (oseltamivir) – inhibits the neuraminidase and thus prevents the spread of the virus in the body
Tamiflu can therefore be used to reduce the length of illness and its transmission within a household
Resistance of H1N1 strain to oseltamivir has been reported at 25%
Flu can be a bit of a swine!
Prevention is better than cure!
Avoid contact with infected people.
Read how the population of Eyam avoided spreading the plague!
Eyam - Plague Village - Derbyshire