SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

Study calls for increased efforts against influenza

A new study published by the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology calls for an increase in the fight against the influenza virus.

The article, entitled "Adapting global influenza management strategies to address emerging viruses," discussed current efforts to combat and track the flu globally. Despite best efforts, an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 people die annually from influenza in the U.S. alone.

The article was written by Diana L. Noah and James W. Noah of the Southern Research Institute. They mention current methods of prevention and treatment, which include vaccinations developed annually, monitoring the progression and spread of the virus and educating the public about it. They also call for an increase in these methods, to gain the 'upper hand' in the fight.

The article makes mention of the newest strain of the influenza, H7N9, as potentially the deadliest yet with 20 percent mortality. It uses this as an example of the urgency to increase flu-fighting efforts now, before this becomes a pandemic.

Noah and Noah note educating the public about what they can do to decrease their risk of infection is important. Being aware of proper hygiene and prevention methods can greatly decrease the number of infections annually.

"Key innovations that result in new antivirals and new, broadly effective vaccines will contribute to increased public health, but aggressive education programs may be the most important factor in immediately leveraging current vaccines and antivirals," Noah and Noah wrote.