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A century after the 1918 influenza pandemic, survey says we have work to do




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A brave little girl tries to smile as she grimaces from an unrecognizable nurse in a free clinic with her unrecognizable mother sitting next to her ] This year marks the 1

00th anniversary of the devastating 1918 pandemic influenza epidemic that killed 50 million people and infects one third of the world population. Epidemiologists say the death toll from a similar pandemic could reach 147 million today Worst influenza pandemic in history, people are astonishingly skeptical of one of the best tools of modern medicine to prevent such a crisis.

A recent survey found that a large number of parents are skeptical of flu shots for themselves and their children, and many still believe in conspiracy theories that have long been debunked. r n r nBut one-third of parents believe the flu shot does not work, according to the survey by Orlando H Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital. And more than half of the interviewed parents believe the flu shot can actually trigger the flu (in fact, it can trigger fever in about 5 to 10% of children, but the flu vaccine contains a severely attenuated version of the flu virus; being able to provoke an infection carries the markers that train the immune system to recognize and respond to the real.

And 30% of respondents said the flu vaccine was a conspiracy. Another 28% believe that that the vaccine can cause autism.This myth originated with two studies by British researcher Andrew Wakefield – one in 1998 and one in 2002. Both used very sloppy methods, and as several other researchers pointed out how flawed Wakefield's work and conclusions were he returns the studies, but it is much easier to withdraw a paper and take it from the scientific record to remove it as an idea. Since 2002, in the same way that urban legends live their own lives as they spread from person to person, Wakefield's original, wrong idea has become accepted and extended to other vaccines, such as the flu shot. For the record, the flu shot also does not cause autism, but it reduces the risk of getting the flu by about 40% to 60%, depending on the stress that circulates in a given year. And if you get the flu, your symptoms will probably be noticeably milder than those of someone who has not been vaccinated.

However, the Orlando survey is worrisome because vaccination can only help ward off a pandemic when most people are actually vaccinated. If most people are vaccinated and therefore can not catch the virus, then they will not be able to spread from one person to another through a population, or at least not with the explosive speed of the 1918 pandemic even unvaccinated people, such as very young infants or people with weakened immune systems, will have some protection because the people around them are less likely to catch the virus and pass it on to them. Scientists call this concept "herd immunity" and it only works if enough people get vaccinated (the necessary proportion of the population is different for each disease). If around a third of the population misses the flu vaccine because it worries about government conspiracies and urban legends, everyone is at risk.

The world has not seen another influenza pandemic as big or as deadly as the 1918-1919 season. Partly because the flu of 1918 hit a world that was still marked by war years. Studies over the last century have also shown that the influenza virus that circulated in 1918 had mutations that made it more easily spread and possibly even infected parts of the body outside the respiratory tract.

Pandemics of lesser magnitude in the years 1957, 1968 and 2009, however. And during the 2017-2018 flu season, one of the most severe since records, 180 infants have died from the flu. Today we have several benefits against the flu and other pathogens – tools that could have saved many of the 50 million lives that were lost in 1918. Networks of doctors and epidemiologists around the world are now watching for the emergence of a flu virus with the potential to explode into a deadly pandemic. For example, when patients appear in clinics in Singapore, with a flu virus that seems to be heavier than usual or more easily transmitted from person to person, they spread the word. Soon, officials, hospitals and pharmacies around the world will know something is coming and they can start preparing medicines and vaccines.

But these tools work only when we use them. Our ability to prepare for potential pandemics depends on global disease surveillance networks, which require funding and collaboration between governments, businesses and hospitals. It also depends on the choices that individuals make about their own health.

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A brave little girl tries to smile as she shoots a shot of an unrecognizable nurse in a free clinic. Her unrecognizable mother sits next

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the devastating Epidemiologists say that in a similar pandemic the death toll could be 147 million. Millions of people suffer from many serious illnesses, but a century after the worst influenza pandemic In history, people are astonishingly skeptical of one of the best tools of modern medicine to prevent such a crisis.

A recent study found that parents are skeptical of flu shots for themselves and their children, and many still believe nor conspiracy theories that have long ent About one-third of parents believe that the flu shot is not orc, according to the survey by Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. And more than half of the interviewed parents believe the flu shot can actually trigger the flu (in fact, it can trigger fever in about 5 to 10% of children, but the flu vaccine contains a severely attenuated version of the flu virus; being able to provoke an infection carries the markers that train the immune system to recognize and respond to the real.

And 30% of respondents said the flu vaccine was a conspiracy. Another 28% believe that that the vaccine can cause autism.This myth originated with two studies by British researcher Andrew Wakefield – one in 1998 and one in 2002. Both used very sloppy methods, and as several other researchers pointed out how flawed Wakefield's work and conclusions were he returns the studies, but it is much easier to withdraw a paper and take it from the scientific record to remove it as an idea. Since 2002, in the same way that urban legends live their own lives as they spread from person to person, Wakefield's original, wrong idea has become accepted and extended to other vaccines, such as the flu shot. For the record, the flu shot also does not cause autism, but it reduces the risk of getting the flu by about 40% to 60%, depending on the stress that circulates in a given year. And if you get the flu, your symptoms will probably be noticeably milder than with someone who has not been vaccinated.

However, the Orlando survey is worrying because vaccine can only help ward off a pandemic when most people are actually vaccinated. If most people are vaccinated and therefore can not catch the virus, then they will not be able to spread from one person to another through a population, or at least not with the explosive speed of the 1918 pandemic even unvaccinated people, such as very young infants or people with weakened immune systems, will have some protection because the people around them are less likely to catch the virus and pass it on to them. Scientists call this concept "herd immunity" and it only works if enough people get vaccinated (the necessary proportion of the population is different for each disease). If around a third of the population misses the flu vaccine because it worries about government conspiracies and urban legends, everyone is at risk.

The world has not seen another influenza pandemic as big or as deadly as the 1918-1919 season. Partly because the flu of 1918 hit a world that was still marked by war years. Studies over the last century have also shown that exposure to the 1918 circulating flu virus had mutations that caused it to spread more easily and perhaps even infect parts of the body outside the respiratory tract.

Minor pandemics flared up in 1957, 1968 and 2009, however. And during the 2017-2018 flu season, one of the most severe since records, 180 infants have died from the flu. Today we have several benefits against the flu and other pathogens – tools that could have saved many of the 50 million lives that were lost in 1918. Networks of doctors and epidemiologists around the world are now watching for the emergence of a flu virus with the potential to explode into a deadly pandemic. For example, when patients appear in clinics in Singapore, with a flu virus that seems to be heavier than usual or more easily transmitted from person to person, they spread the word. Soon, officials, hospitals and pharmacies around the world will know something is coming and they can start preparing medicines and vaccines.

But these tools work only when we use them. Our ability to prepare for potential pandemics depends on global disease surveillance networks, which require funding and collaboration between governments, businesses and hospitals. It also depends on the choices that individuals make about their own health.


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