More Flu

  • The Swine Flu Scare In 1976, there was a small outbreak of influenza A that was closely related to the 1918-1919 Pandemic strain. Due the frightening outcome of the related strain, US public health officials quickly developed huge amounts of a vaccine to the new strain. Even though some people chose not to be vaccinated, there was no epidemic the following flu season. A very rare association with the new flu vaccine was Guillain Barre Syndrome. This serious condition caused paralysis. Therefore, because of highly visible side effects, and no visible proof that the vaccination program actually avoided an epidemic, public health officials were criticized rather than rewarded for their quick response.
  • Hemmaglutination: Orthomyxoviruses sometimes make red blood cells stick together.
  • "Original Antigenic Sin": This phrase describes the phenomenon that greatest amount of anitbodies that are stimulated by an influenza infection are antibodies specific to the strain of influenza of your first infection.
  • Antigenic Shift: is the genetic recombination of diiferent strains. Two different strains must infect the same host. The virus also must be promiscuous. Influenza A exhibits antigenic shift every 10 to 40 years. Shift is one reaon why the virus can spread throughout the world so quickly.
  • Antigenic Drift: is one or more random point mutations that add up into small molecular changes. They occur within one subtype. It is not as severe as Influenza A, but is reason why a new strain occurs yearly. (Thus yearly vaccination is required.)

Back to the main orthomyxo page.