Definition: Influenza (Flu) is an acute nonspecific viral rhinitis, similar to common cold but more severe and it is caused by influenza viruses, types A, B and C.
Clinical picture: Similar to common cold with the following differences:
- Severe headache, malaise and high fever.
- Rhinorrhea and sneezing are mild.
- Secondary bacterial infection is more frequent.
As in common cold may occur, but they are more severe and in addition pneumonia, myocarditis and meningoencephalitis may occur.
1. As in common cold.
2. Vaccination is important in high risk groups: elderly, children, immunocompromised patients and highly exposed persons e.g. doctors and nurses.
Novel H1N1 flu, popularly known as swine flu, is a respiratory infection caused by an influenza virus first recognized in spring 2009. The new virus, which is officially called swine influenza A (H1N1), contains genetic material from human, swine and avian flu viruses.
H1N1 flu spreads quickly and easily. In June 2009, when the infection's spread had been verified worldwide, the World Health Organization declared H1N1 flu a global pandemic.
The antiviral drugs oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) can reduce the severity of symptoms, but flu viruses can develop resistance to them.
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