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Flu Pandemics

Flu Pandemics

Sample Answer 

Flu Pandemics

Influenza is one of the most common re-emerging infectious diseases. The flu is a viral infection that spreads through the air. Influenza is a very contagious infection. Thus, it can easily grow into a pandemic. In fact, there have been various deadly pandemics in history. One of the worst flu pandemics occurred in 1918, caused by the H1N1 virus. This pandemic caused the death of approximately 50 million people globally (Eisfeld et al., 2015). The next big pandemic occurred between 1957 and 1958, caused by the H2N2 virus, leading to the death of about 1.1 million people globally. In 1968, there was another pandemic caused by the H3N2 virus that killed about a million people worldwide (Eisfeld et al., 2015). The most recent global pandemic occurred in 2009, caused by the H1N1 virus, and caused the death of between 150,000 and 575,000 people globally (Eisfeld et al., 2015).

It is possible for another flu pandemic to be experienced. The original H1N1 virus that caused the 1918 outbreak still lingers in the form of descendant viruses that have mutated into different versions (Smith et al., 2016). The flu virus evolves significantly fast, forming new mechanisms to be resistant to the flu vaccines developed. Therefore, every year, a new vaccine needs to be developed to be able to protect people against the newly adapted virus (Smith et al., 2016). In case too many people fail to get the new vaccine, there is a chance that a pandemic might occur again.

Additionally, it takes about five to six months to develop a new flu vaccine strain, while the timeline of infection takes just one to three days for one to be infected. If the viruses adapt too quickly, it may be difficult to keep up with their resistance to the vaccines. Therefore, a new pandemic can occur.

The occurrence of a new pandemic may be likely to be derived from the H1N1 virus that caused the initial pandemic and whose version caused the 2009 outbreak. However, the new versions of the flu strain tend to be weaker. Thus, it is unlikely that an extensive outbreak such as the 1918 one could occur again.


Eisfeld, A. J., Neumann, G., & Kawaoka, Y. (2015). At the centre: influenza A virus ribonucleoproteins. Nature Reviews Microbiology13(1), 28.

Smith, S., Sim, J., & Halcomb, E. (2016). Nurses’ knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding influenza vaccination: an integrative review. Journal of clinical nursing25(19-20), 2730-2744.


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Flu Pandemics

  1. Flu Pandemics: Will it happen again?
  2. What are some of the main flu pandemics that have occurred in history?

    Flu Pandemics

    Flu Pandemics

  3. What species do you think the next flu pandemic will be derived from?
  4. Will this pandemic be as severe as the past flu pandemics?
  5. How would a flu pandemic differ from the annual influenza infections?
  6. How long would it take vaccinations to be developed against a strain of flu? How does this compare to a timeline of infection?

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