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Title: Current%20Threats%20to%20Public%20Health

Current Threats to Public Health
  • Flu Viruses

What are they?
  • The flu viruses are a family of RNA viruses that
    commonly infect mammals and birds.
  • The three main types of flu viruses are
  • Influenza A
  • Influenza B
  • Influenza C
  • Flu viruses kill half a million people or more a

How are they transmitted?
  • Droplet contact through coughing or sneezing is
    the most common way the flu virus is spread.
  • Indirect contact from touching an object that has
    the virus on it is the other way it is
  • Direct contact with nasal secretions may also
    pass on the virus.

What are the symptoms?
  • Flu viruses may cause any of the following
  • Fever Chills
  • Coughing Fatigue
  • Muscle ache Runny Nose
  • Nausea Shortness of Breath
  • Vomiting Dizziness
  • Diarrhea Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • There is also some correlation between flu
    viruses and pneumonia.

Preventative Measures
  • Flu viruses mutate (change) quite quickly
    therefore you should get your vaccine against
    them yearly
  • Disinfectants, detergents and hand sanitizers all
    break down the flu virus, therefore good overall
    cleanliness is an effective preventative measure
    against the flu.

Influenza C Viruses
  • The most rare flu virus.
  • Only contains one genus and species, Influenza C
  • These viruses are usually found in dogs, pigs and
  • Some epidemics, both usually only causes mild
    symptoms in children.

Influenza B Viruses
  • Again only one genus and species, Influenza B
  • This one almost exclusively affects humans.
  • More rare than any of the influenza A viruses.
  • This virus mutates much slower than the influenza
    A viruses and therefore immunity to it can be
    longer lasting, but still needs a booster shot
    every few years.

Influenza A Viruses
  • The most virulent flu viruses belong to this
  • At least 10 species affect humans.
  • These viruses are usually found in aquatic birds
    and they have been known to jump species and
    cause epidemics and pandemics when they jump to
  • Avian flu and Swine flu are different species of
    Influenza A
  • Mutate quickly, therefore annual booster shots
    are needed to prevent infection.

Avian Flu
  • The H5N1 virus (or Avian Flu) is flu virus common
    to birds in Southeast Asia.
  • The most common method of transmission is
    handling infected poultry (chickens, turkeys),
    although once infected, human to human
    transmission is possible.
  • Mutates quickly.
  • Very virulent and causes death in 60 of all
    human cases.

H5 and N1 are cell surface markers on the virus
protein coat (capsid)
Avian Flu
  • The avian flu kills by over stimulating the
    immune system causing a massive inflammatory
    response and higher levels of tissue destroying
  • Also leads to pneumonia often which can be deadly
  • Reported April 5, 2013 (3 days ago) human cases
    have been confirmed in China

Swine flu versus Avian Flu
Swine Flu
  • The H1N1 virus (or Swine Flu) is a mutant of the
    most common flu virus to infect humans, the
    influenza A virus (H1N2).
  • The 2009 H1N1 flu virus is actually a genetic mix
    of four different flu viruses two different
    swine flu viruses (one NA and one Asian), an
    avian flu virus and influenza A.
  • The 2009 version is called pandemic H1N1/09 virus.

(No Transcript)
How is it transmitted?
  • basic reproduction number is the expected number
    of healthy, non-immune people that an infected
    individual will transmit to
  • This number is 1.75 for the H1N1 virus (this is
    quite high)
  • It has also been seen that humans have
    transmitted the virus to pigs, turkeys, ferrets
    and household cats.

When did it become a problem? FYI (no need to
write this ?)
  • On June 11th 2009, the World Health Organization
    (WHO) declared the H1N1 virus a pandemic.
  • On October 25, 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama
    officially declared H1N1 a national emergency in
    the United States.
  • On November 8, 2009 WHO stated that "206
    countries and overseas territories/communities
    have officially reported over 503,536 laboratory
    confirmed cases of the influenza pandemic H1N1
    infection, including 6,250 deaths."

When did it become a problem?
  • It was first detected in Veracruz, Mexico in
    March 2009, where it had already been an epidemic
    for months!
  • Although the Mexican government shut down the
    majority of medical clinics in the country to try
    to prevent the spread of swine flu, it crossed
    the Mexican border and became global.

What was the Public Health Agency of Canadas
  • On May 6th 2009, PHAC announced it had mapped out
    the genetic code of the H1N1 virus.
  • This has allowed for the production of the H1N1
    vaccine, which has since been administered in 16

H1N1 Update from PHAC
  • On August 10, the WHO (World Health Organization)
    declared that HINI was in the post-pandemic
  • Epidemiologist found that H1N1 was circulating at
    lower levels behaving like seasonal influenza
  • It continues to circulate in Canada at low levels

Who is at risk for contracting flu?
  • Essentially everyone is at risk for getting Flu
  • Individuals who are at higher risk for
    complications while infected with flu virus
  • Adults over 65
  • Infants and young children
  • People with chronic conditions (e.g diabetes,

Why should we be concerned?
  • All flu viruses mutate quickly, which can result
    in new strains that humans lack immunity to (e.g.
  • People from every age bracket have died from the
    H1N1 virus.
  • It is difficult to predict the characteristics
    of future strains of flu virus

How do we prevent ourselves from getting Flu?
  • From PHAC
  • Get flu shots
  • Good hand hygiene is the best way to prevent the
    spread of all flu viruses.
  • Keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (gel or
    wipes) handy at work, home and in your car. It
    needs to be at least 60 alcohol to be effective.
  • Use your cough corner ? Cough into your upper
    sleeve if you don't have a tissue.
  • Avoid large crowds of people where viruses can
    spread easily. Stay home when you are sick.    
  • Keep common surfaces and items clean and

Reactionary treatmentfor the flu
  • Usually rest, drink lots of fluids to avoid
    dehydration, stay nourished (eat what you can)
  • If you are in a high-risk group or have developed
    a severe case of swine flu, you may be prescribed
    anti-viral drugs like Tamiflu or Relenza.
  • These are not prescribed to everyone who
    contracts H1N1 flu in order to prevent drug
    resistant strains of the virus from emerging.