Spanish Influenza Redux Article Review
2018 Jun 29;391(10139):2492-5. I. Summary Honigsbaum provides a review of the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918 and the effect it has had on scientific research on the disease as well as the various ways in which it changed the society in terms of preparedness for a potential reoccurrence of the diseases and other factors that include vaccination1. The article provides that prior to the 1918 Spanish influenza outbreak, epidemiologists had made previous observations that influenza pandemics were either preceded or followed by epizootics of influenza such as illnesses in cats, dogs and horses. This was the case in 1918 despite the fact that scientists and scholars often disagree of where exactly this pandemic begun. Apolloni, Poletto, and Colizza, established that various countries had a substantial shift in the age of identified local transmissions and importation cases in which adults were mainly responsible for introducing new infections in unaffected regions and children were the leading driving factors of community outbreaks2.
While Honigsbaum fails to clearly establish the factors that determine the potential of a global influenza invasion, Apolloni, Poletto, and Colizza, provide that this depends on transmissibility of the pathogen, the transportation network and mobility features, the demographic profile of a specific population and the mixing pattern in that population2. Moreover, Håberg et al, also considered pregnancy as a key risk factor in facilitating the spread of the influenza virus infection3. Based on the 2009 influenza pandemic, Håberg et al established that expectant women were at a high risk of suffering severe influenza illness and fetal death3. In addition, Håberg et al, also found out that vaccination during the pregnancy helped to reduce the risk of influenza diagnosis and could have been a key contributor to the reduction in the risk of influenza-related deaths during the H1N1 2009 pandemic3.
This is followed by emergency response and communication. The US had made several steps to implementing these strategies. Among them include embracing a more continuous approach to interpreting limited data and communicating the risk of the virus to the public4. The federal government has also increased its funding of research and additional preparedness techniques. There has been continuous clear communication between the planners at all levels of government as well as the strengthening of capacity to enable the implementation of the relevant mitigation plans. According to Pagliusi et al, the rates of morbidity and mortality resulting from influenza infections have reduced greatly because most of the developing countries are continuing to make efforts to ensure that they provide affordable vaccinations to their population6.
This is made possible through the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network (DCVMN) which is a unique model of a public and private international alliance of experts from developing countries with additional expatriate support from developed countries and international organizations such as the WHO6. Recommendations The study was successful in describing the extent of the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic. Many lessons have been taken from this pandemic and as a result several preparedness strategies have been developed and implemented. Moreover, there is need to continue developing vaccines as one of the key preparedness strategies to deal with any potential influenza breakouts. 2013 Dec;13(1):176. Håberg SE, Trogstad L, Gunnes N, Wilcox AJ, Gjessing HK, Samuelsen SO, Skrondal A, Cappelen I, Engeland A, Aavitsland P, Madsen S.
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