Infectious diseases have been affecting humans since diseases and germs were discovered. No sophisticated antibiotics or antiviral medications were available to treat neither disease nor epidemiological records to trace their origin and destinations. In contemporary societies mankind is so advanced in science and technology that, viruses, bacteria, fungi and other types of microorganisms are detected, sensitivity identified; epidemiological implications uncovered and prognoses delivered. This discussion provides an epidemiological evaluation of the Avian influenza infection as a twenty first century pandemic.
A.1 Description of Outbreak
Avian influenza is a viral infection similar to bird flu/ swine flu, dog flu, horse flu, or human flu. Epidemiologists have described the outbreak as being an illness influenced by different strains of the organism. It manifests as a combination of all strains of the influenza virus. Public health authorities were first alerted to the outbreak when a 27-year-old woman from eastern China died of bird flu in January, 2009. She was the second person reported to have died from similar signs and symptoms of bird flu. Tests were conducted and it was discovered that the H5N1 avian influenza virus was the causative organism (Leong et.al, 2008)
A.2 Description of epidemiological indicators
Epidemiological indicators reveal that while many birds have died and amounts cannot be accurately estimated the disease has taken the lives of 359 humans in twelve countries around the world. Importantly, the strongest pathogenic strain ( H5N1) has spread by 2003 to Asia, Europe in 2005 as well as the Middle East, Vietnam and Cambodia. ( Tiensn & Thanawat, 2005).
Further reports regarding the epidemiological indicators are that 300 more humans in Azerbaijan, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Laos, Nigeria, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam have died since the outbreak in 2003. This is creating immense concerns for public health as well as epidemiologists whose predictions of these indicators signals a serious pandemic. Therefore, internationally, disease-control centers are using these indicators to ensure that avian flu pandemic is addressed with urgency (Tiensn & Thanawat, 2005).
Also, World Health Organization recommends acute public health intervention as an epidemiological indicator for controlling this disease. Poultry farmers are advised to undertake prophylactic measures to control the spread of H5N1 as well as other dangerous strains of the virus. These included wearing protective garments when attending to poultry (Tiensn & Thanawat, 2005).
A.3 Analysis of the epidemiological data
Data retrieved from these epidemiological indicators reflect a qualitative description of the outbreak Already in Thailand avian flu has been responsible for a magnificent degree of economic impairment. This affected the poultry industry the greatest because consumers of poultry products refused to purchase any chicken or eggs for fear of becoming infected. It would appear from the data presented that bird migration greatly influenced the pandemic among humans and in the industry as well (Tiensn & Thanawat, 2005).
A.4 Discussion on route of transmission
Avian influenza is a disease transmitted by various strains of the influenza virus usually adapting itself to a specific host. Viruses that cause influenza in birds belong to the influenza ‘ A’ species virus. All subtypes excluding sub strains of influenza ‘ A’ virus are bird adaptable. This is the reason avian flu virus is being classified the ‘A” virus (Leong et.al, 2008)
This however does not mean that other species are excluded from being infected. Precisely, the virus is adaptable to numerous species at the same time denoting its pathogenic potency. Studies have revealed that the Spanish influenza virus infects humans and birds alike with a weaker strain occurring in humans
A.5 Discussion on how the outbreak affects the community
Most of the communities which have been affected by the Avian influenza are located in the east and southeastern hemisphere of predominantly. The outbreak has affected them physical and financially. From a physical standpoint many people became infected and there were significant loss of lives. Livestock also perished. Most importantly, the poultry industry suffered even more in the presence of diminished human resources.
B. Explanation on the appropriate protocol for reporting the possible outbreak of SARS.
Severe acute respiration syndrome (SARS) was discovered in year 2003 and is a very contagious disease. The organism responsible for its spread belongs to the corona virus family. Transmission is by contact and inhalation. And symptoms develop within two to ten days after contact with infectious droplets. Therefore the disease potential to spread from person to person is very high (Nestor & Robert, 2000).
Soon after the organism invades the body and the immune system sets up a reaction the person displays signs and symptoms such as fever, cough, rhinitis, difficulty in breathing, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting. Possible complication includes multiple organ failure (Nestor & Robert, 2000).
Once these signs and symptoms are diagnosed and confirmed arrangements should be made to document and report the condition as a communicable disease. According to Gloria and Lewis (2005) this must be executed with urgency and according to the public health notification protocol. The notifier should indicate the geographical location; estimated population and number of cases identified when relating the incidence to the public health official in the local health department. The chain of command continues when the report is transmitted by telephone to the administrative officer of health who follows through in 24 hours with a written confirmation diagnosis of confidentiality morbidity documentation (Gloria & Lewis, 2005).
C. Discussion on how care is modified when addressing an increased risk due to poor air quality – Asthma and other respiratory diseases
Asthma is a respiratory disease that increases difficulty in breathing. Symptoms that can occur include coughing, wheezing, rhinitis and chest tightness. Precisely, Asthma is also called an airway obstructive disease (Nestor & Robert, 2000). Care is modified when there is an increased risk of air quality depending on the prevailing respiratory condition facing the client/ community and intervener.
The first intervention is to ensure that medications that help improve air quality are available to clients challenged by breathing issues. These include mobile ventilators, supportive oxygen supplies and inhalers. In the meanwhile community public health support will be requested for updated information regarding improvements in the air quality or serious alerts.
In concluding this Environmental and Global Health Issues report it is recommend for twenty-first century public health care planners/ educators is to force congress to increase the budget opening opportunities for AIDS education in the capacity of AIDS research. This ought to be a program operating from middle school in developing, underdeveloped or developed societies. It is the greatest sensitivity educational approach towards curing AIDS in the twenty-first century. Also communicable disease such as SARS ought to be researched for more preventative intervention and quality of air measures must be high on the public health care agenda.
Gloria, D., & Lewis, T. (2005). Microbes in motion. New York: MC Graw Hill.
Leong, K. Goh ,S. Chew,T. ( 2008). Prevention and control of avian influenza in Singapore. Ann. Acad. Med. Singap. 37 (6): 504–9.
Nester, T., & Robert, P. (2000). Microbiology: a human perspective. New York: Mc Graw Hill.
Tiensn,P.,& Thanawat, N.( 2005).Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 Thailand, 2004.
Emerging Infectious Disease. 2005. CDC. 11