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Influenza Virus

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Silent Stalker 2

A Silent Stalker

From the shadows, he lurks silently and patiently awaiting his next victim. He does not discriminate based on race, sex, or age, however; the youngest and eldest usually pay a higher price. This perpetrator who remains faceless is known as the influenza virus.

The influenza virus commonly known as the flu is a contagious viral infection that invades its victim's body via the nose and mouth affecting the respiratory system of the individual. It spreads by respiratory droplets through coughing and sneezing. When a person sneezes or coughs, they normally cover their mouth or nose using their hand out of common courtesy and then you have the numerous people who were never taught manners, who sneeze or cough projecting and spreading their germs up to several feet. One would hope that the people who use their hands out of common courtesy, practice good hygiene techniques and run to the restroom to wash them, but we live in the real world and not everyone practices good hygiene. Therefore, everything that this person (if infected) touches now becomes host to the virus waiting for the next victim to come along and touch everything that this individual has touched.

Once it enters the body, an individual will develop symptoms similar to the common cold from headache, fever, tiredness, cough, and sore throat, runny or stuffy nose to body aches. This dreadful virus has been around since it first major breakout in 1918-1919, killing more people than in World War I. The death toll was between 20 to 40 million. This was the worst epidemic that had hit the world, worst even that the Bubonic Plague. Again, it reared its ugly head in the 1990's, killing approximately 36,000 people a year.

Silent Stalker 3

There are two strains of the flu virus that cause epidemics in humans; Influenza A and Influenza B. The Influenza A virus replicates itself by entering a host cell and infecting it by reproducing its own genetic make-up. It then produces numerous RNA copies to be transcribed and translated into the cells enzymes and ribosomes which in-turn produces new virus particles that will find a new host to replicate itself and the cycle repeats itself producing new strains of the virus. The influenza B virus does not mutate as quickly as the A virus.

In viewing the maps and tables for the past several years, patterns suggest that there is a definite flu season usually



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