Influenza is one of the less documented yet most deadly infections during the cold seasons of the year around the world. with over 20% death rates recorded in developing countries such as Kenya.
Influenza is a contagious respiratory infection caused by different influenza viruses.
Types of Influenza Viruses
There are three types of influenza viruses namely A, B and C that affect the human species. The A and B influenza viruses are known to be seasonal epidemics. Implying that these two influenzas are likely to be spread during the different seasons of the year.
The influenza virus A is further divided into two subtypes namely H1N1 and H3N2 which are vaccinated against depending on the alert of the season.
The bird flu also is known as H5N1 and is a combination of all A subtypes which is easily passed from birds to poultry and then to humans. And it should be remembered that as of writing bird flu can’t be vaccinated against.
How Influenza is Spread
It is worth noting that though influenza transmission factors are known, other multiple factors play a vital role such as the vector of transmission and the clusters of the population. With the above in mind, therefore, one must note that influenza A and B spread rapidly during the wet seasons.
Kenya’s ministry of health confirmed the outbreak of H3N2 which should not be confused with H3N2v which is swine flu or H1N1 which is avian flu.
Thanks to the proper health surveillance system that Kenya has, there is clear documentation of the previous cases of thus making it quick to contain.
Although currently Kenya has issued a public health alert of about an influenza breakout that has claimed a life, and three others have been hospitalized. People are most like to contract it during the cold seasons of the year that is between February and April, June and November period.
This infection spreads faster in areas that are cold and are highly populated which explains why the current outbreak in Watamu is as such and hasn’t spread as fast.
Signs and Symptoms of Influenza
Influenza can be detected in 2 to 3 days after the onset.
Thus if anyone gets the following signs they should seek medical attention majorly if you get cold-like symptoms such as :
- abrupt sore throat
- muscle aches
- Chest discomfort
- nasal congestion
- chills and sweats
Treatment and Control of Influenza
Once you get this signs one is advised to contact a health service provider while ensuring that they:
- limit contact with people
- cover your mouth while coughing
- wash hands with soap and clean water
- drink plenty of warm fluids
- keep warm
- clean and disinfect all surfaces and objects that have been touched or used by a suspected influenza victim
It’s also important that one gets vaccinated against this flu since these vaccines are known to protect anyone against the three H1N1 and H3N2 and B virus.
In addition to the above, you may have to get vaccinated each time against influenza as the virus gets immune to the vaccine thus new vaccines are stronger than any other.