Disease Focus of the Month – Influenza (Flu)

Influenza (Flu): is an infectious disease affecting nose, throat and lungs. The common symptoms of flu are fever, sore throat, muscle pains, headache, cough etc. This should not be confused with common cold despite few similarities in the nature of the disease. This is more severe than common cold. There are two types of Influenza virus: Type A and B. Type A arrives between early winter and early spring. Type B can happen anytime of the year. The symptoms of having flu are fever between 102° and 106° F with body ache, dizziness, headache, lack of energy etc.

Cause(s): One of the important causes of flu is the transmission of viruses by one person to another via saliva, cough, sneeze, blood, needles, blood transfusion, sexual contact etc. Most of the time people catch flu when they breathe in tiny droplets of cough or sneeze from someone who already has flu.

Treatments: The treatment of flu is mostly the prevention that includes covering our mouth and nose while sneezing and keeping our hands clean with disinfectants/antibacterial cleaners. Another option is also to get a yearly flu shot. Children, people with above 50 years of age, women who are more than 3 months pregnant during the flu season and people with diabetes or cardiovascular diseases are more prone to flu attacks.

Market size: Based on the article in nature the market was sized at US$2.8 billion in 2008-2009 across seven major markets (US, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK)

References:

http://www.nature.com/nrd/journal/v8/n11/full/nrd3026.html
http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/f/flu/prevalence.htm
http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/the-flu/overview.html#Causes