Tackling swine flu in UK

The study is about swine flu, an infection that also known as hog flu, or swine influenza. Swine flu became an issue after the 2009 pandemic. When first diagnosed in Mexico 2009 it was named as Mexico flu.

Abstract

Swine flu has become a pandemic. There is therefore a need to improve our understanding on the disease. Previously the disease was thought to be only a disease for pigs but the disease has proved to be a serious threat to humans. Swine flu is been introduced as a disease caused by influenza virus (Vincent, 2009). The influenza virus was known to cause swine influenza disease that affected pigs. However after the first case of the disease in human beings was identified the disease has undergone various mutation until it was easy to be transmitted from one human being to another. It was evidently experienced in 2009. The epidemiology report later identifies the disease to have been named swine flu after it attacked human beings in an alarming rate. The disease symptoms are known to develop mildly. However, they are fatal to those people who are: pregnant, ageing more than 65, children under two years, people with lung and heart diseases and those with weakened immune system (Bordon, 2010). To prevent the disease from spreading the medical experts created a vaccine. The vaccine is based on the seasonal flu jab. The vaccine is given as an annual injection in UK. The best means, to treat the disease, has been devised as to be at one place mostly home where the patient can rest and keep warm. Due to dehydration it is advisable to drink a lot of water so as to replace the one a patient will lose during vomiting and diarrhoea. The high temperatures are lowered by taking paracetamol.

 

Introduction

Swine flu is just one of several virus strains of flu. Medical researchers gave the swine official name influenza A. The virus that causes swine flu is said to be virus H1H1. Influenza, a disease of pigs, was initially discovered in Spain by veterinarian J. S. Koen. Swine flu is an infection that is caused by influenza virus or swine influenza virus (Butler 2012). It is a form of the disease that usually affects the pig. It was identified that swine influenza virus could infect humans in 1974. The first outbreaks of swine flu were associated to those people who were close to pigs and hence the name swine flu. It is a very dangerous disease, but its fatality was witnessed in 2009- 2010 outbreak (Ashton, 2012). It is when various bodies focused on the disease to gain its clear meaning and the means to which people can be prevented from it.

Pigs are important role in the transmission of swine flu, as it has been identified it originated from pigs. Pigs have receptors for avian and human influenza viruses.   It is a point of interest because it is a drawback to farmers when it attacks the pigs. Pig farming is an important economic activity in most parts of the world especially in UK. Pig farming is a major sector in UK agriculture, hence, an important point of interest. In addition, pig farming in UK is not supported by the states (Burkardt 2011). Health of pigs is important to the farmers, to the consumers and the country in general. It forms a major sector of employment in any of the countries in UK, accruing too many benefits economically. Consumption of pork and bacon in the content is an order of the day. Swine flu is not commonly transmitted to human beings but at some points, those who are close to pigs especially farmers are at the highest risk.

Literature review

The disease was named Swine flu when influenza virus was identified on humans. Swine influenza is a disease found in pigs, and influenza viruses cause it. Influenza viruses are many and of different types. It is evident that the influenza viruses affect human beings and birds; however, the viruses vary those that affect pigs, are different from those which affect humans and birds. It is clear that those, who initially contacted the disease, were the people who had a close contact with the pigs (Terence 2010). The disease spread to most parts of the world, but UK was the most affected. It is not clear whether it is people from UK who are more susceptible to the disease. Eventually, pig farming forms one of the major agricultural activities in UK. Swine flu and seasonal flu are different diseases (Ford-Smith 2012). Due to the turn of events swine flu symptoms are similar to those of seasonal flues. Medical doctors and researcher have established the means to protect people from the disease under seasonal flu vaccination. The disease is known to be more severe to such people who are pregnant, are having asthma, and are over 65 and those who are diabetic and those who suffer from lung and heart diseases (Cleary 2011). There are gaps on the knowledge of the evolution of the disease. Fear about what could happen in the future when the disease takes a new course since it is a respiratory disease and can be easily spread by coughing and sneezing (Korstanje 2011). Though the symptoms of the disease are known to develop mildly, it is saving to ensure that there are continuous checks on humans. Animals such as pigs and birds are known to be means through which most of the flues originate and spread the diseases to human beings.

Aims

The study aims at identifying the causes of the disease. It is to enable gain knowledge on the origin of the disease the trend in which the disease is establishing itself. Swine flu as become an issue of interest after becoming a threat to humans. The study will also entail ways to which the disease can be detected, through its symptoms. Then the study also purposes on the appropriate methods for prevention and treating the disease. The disease was rated as pandemic in 2009 by WHO after more than 20 million people were diagnosed to be having the disease (Kramlich et al. 2010). The study among other purposes aims at increasing the awareness of the disease to the society. For a period, the disease has seemed to be forgotten since there are only minor cases of it in the world. It is important to know the cause of the disease as it creates a body of knowledge about animal to human diseases. As noted the disease was known to be pig’s disease, but it evolved until it became a threat to humans.

Methods

Methods of research on the disease were the following. The search strategy; this entailed the use of internet journals, books and other materials that have important information on swine flu. The search only comprised of those materials that were written in English. Since the concern is on how swine flu was tackled after its outbreak in 2009, the study was conducted based on the patients on the emergency departments of five hospitals. The emergency department staffs of the hospitals completed well-standardized forms on the patients who had H1N1 (Dhama et al 2012). The research is based on reviewing records and case notes about the hospitals. The record indicates the number of patients who visited the hospitals and the records about the nature of their health in relation to the disease. Further research on the disease such as its history and background was conducted on search terms included ‘swine’, ‘influenza’, ‘swine influenza’, ‘swine flu’ and ‘animal to human’ (Fox & Notholt 2009). It helped get reports on the origin and the trend of swine flu. The search strategy was an effective method as it could provide refined data on how swine flu has become a pandemic to the human being over time. The other method used is the data analysis method. Journals were also a very reliable source of information. Many people usually write journals and in case like this where the disease killed many people it was a point of interest. The study was undertaken based on the hospital reports. These are the reports recorded in 2009 and 2010 outbreak. The reports are from four of the major hospitals where patients were known to have accumulated.

The other method used is the analysis of data. In this case, the data that has been recorded in the journals and books. There are a lot of journals that were produced especially after the 2009 pandemic. Some of the journals have even anonymous writers but eventually they contain reliable information about swine flu. Data analysis enabled me to capture a wide range of information. The information is usually reliable especially the one written by anonymous writers (Laurance 2010). In addition, the government links and sources were able to provide more reliable data for analysis. It is where there are records of the government efforts to curb the risk of the swine flu. The records indicate the total number of patients who were diagnosed to have been sick, those who died and the ones who survived. The records also indicated that, during the initial stage 60 million people were vaccinated so as to ease the threat of the disease (Gilmour 2009). The research also relied on questionnaires. However, it only applied reliable questionnaires from other sources. At this level, the researcher could not have been able to collect original questionnaires. The questionnaires were based on such issues as the knowledge of people on the disease, its symptoms, prevention and means to cure the disease. Many people proved to have minimal knowledge about the disease before the 2009 pandemic. The questionnaires also asked about the precautions people are taking for any future threats. Another issue on the questionnaires is the perspective of people the swine flu vaccination.

Results

The methods used were able to give the following results. The data collected on 500 hundred cases in the four hospitals indicated the following after being analyzed. Most of the patients were children and the aged above 65 they comprised above 70% (Young 2009). There was a collection of many materials on swine flu; however, most of them were irrelevant. The reason being the current state of the disease is different; the disease has evolved from being pigs’ disease to human beings issue. The disease having evolved in such a way that it can be transmitted from one human being to another. The data indicates that the place, where the disease was able o strongly to establish itself, was in London and Northern Ireland (Bentley & Ormerod 2012). It posed a very serious threat since these are the places that are very high populated. Out of the 500 cases the hospital reports indicated that there were 6 cases of deaths. The death rates were increased by the respiratory problems.  Therefore, increases the need to create awareness of the disease all over the world, its causes, symptoms, prevention and means to cure it.  Most of the data is based on 2009 outbreak since it is when the disease became an alarming issue. The materials state that the virus was first identified in Mexico and was named it the Mexican flu (Saxena 2009). The research also revealed that the vaccine, which the government authorized to be vaccinated to people have side effects. The records indicate out of 50 million people who were vaccinated 6 of them suffered brain damage. It also indicates that out of fifteen thousand of the people who were vaccinated, there are two who will suffer problems related to sleeping (Mark 2013). It means they will lack to sleep for ninety minutes per a particular time. Research based on the knowledge about awareness on the existence of the disease before the pandemic shows that only 0.5% of the people knew. However, the knowledge spread and almost everyone became aware of the disease.

The reports also provided information that the threat of swine flu was not as major as it was been stipulated. The hospitals were ready to help most of the patients. The emergency sector statements indicate that only few cases were severe and were accelerated by other health related issues, for example, age. The people’s perception on the current swine flu vaccine indicates that only 75% of the population trusts the vaccine (Goodwin et el. 2011). A section of the population that does not appreciate the vaccine bases their reasons on fear of the side effects that have been witnessed. The hospitals efforts to fight the pandemic are indicated to 95% success. It was achieved by the efforts of every party involved in delivering services to the hospitals.

Discussion

As identified above swine flu is a disease that is present in pigs. However, the disease is now affecting human beings evident in 2009-2010, when WHO declared the disease as an epidemic. Swine flu infections result in respiratory diseases when in humans (Hall 2011). The strength of the disease depends on the strain of the virus that infected the person. The severity of the disease also depends on the age of the person infected where its fatality is more to children and the elderly. The following are the signs of swine flu; sneezing, coughing and difficulty in breathing. There is an also high temperature, loss of appetite, weakness, body aches, headache, fatigue, chills and swollen red eyes. In addition, in 2009, the outbreak victims indicated diarrhoea and vomiting as symptoms of swine flu (Ashton 2012). The outbreak was dangerous because it was being transmitted from person to person. Besides the symptoms, respiratory failure has been concluded to be the main cause of death. Other causes of death on swine flu patients are kidney failure, excessive vomiting and diarrhoea, high fever, electrolyte imbalance and pneumonia. Circumstances have led to the development of methods of diagnosing swine flu in UK and other parts of the world.

The most recommended method is the real-time PCR but since it is only under emergency circumstances, there are other methods commercially available for easy access to people. The methods include oral fluids and virus preserving paper card (Greenhough 2012). Swine flu is spread to human beings through a direct contact with pigs. It is at this level then that the virus is spread to other human beings. Initially, when an infected pig coughs it spreads the disease to the other pigs. Wild animals and birds or contaminated food, water, clothing or equipment also spreads swine influenza (Hilton 2010). Tackling of swine flu in UK has not been an easy task. Medical doctors, practitioners and researchers together with the bodies concerned with the human health did their best o find cure and prevention measures of the disease. There are patients who suffered brain damage; children had sleeping problems as a result of the swine flu vaccine (Ainsworth 2009). UK has faced serious challenges in tackling the disease, following the 2009 outbreak the government had to ensure that more than 60 million people were vaccinated. The vaccine is said to be inappropriate and with time to cause more harm. The vaccine said to cause narcolepsy and cataplexy. There is, therefore, need for more research to develop a harmless vaccine for the disease. The disease is estimated to have killed more than 280,000 people and lead to the death of more than 600,000 (Terence et al. 2010). However, these deaths were those at the range of the experts, and there are fears that the deaths may have been more. Due to this reasons the government has increased its efforts in tackling the disease. Swine flu is being handled as a dangerous disease together with another animal relates diseases such as bird flu that is said to be about three mutations away to become a human pandemic.

Conclusion

Swine flu is a serious threat to humans. The study has identified the process through which the disease has evolved until it came to be a threat to humans. There are efforts in UK government to tackle the disease together with other forms f disease. There is, therefore, need to test all forms of diseases affecting animals and especially domestic animals because they are the ones at the range of human beings. This will help to be ready for any outbreak that is animal to human. Therefore, must further research so as to come up with the valid swine flu vaccination and that which will not leave people at other risks. It is true that the number of recorded deaths is not the actual one but an estimate. The situation having cooled for the time being does not mean the disease is completely eradicated. The failure of the vaccines to completely being harmless is an issue that needs to be addressed (Kåhrström 2013). The side effects have raised a lot of concern since it is severe to a group of people and since the vaccination is done yearly there is the need to take serious measures. There are minor cases in some parts especially in Africa where people still die of the disease.

 

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