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Swine Flu in the Community, Research Paper Example

Pages: 8

Words: 2177

Research Paper

Introduction

The Swine flu is a cross species virus that now causes illness to human having been earlier found in pigs. It was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) by June 2009. The Swine flu virus was first reported in 1918 in the world which was a pandemic that emerged from the human influenza A (H1N1) virus but has increasingly changed in its strain. According to W.H.O, as of July 31, 2009, 168 independent countries have reported at least one confirmed case of Swine Flu that has resulted in over 162,380 reported cases and 1,154 associated deaths (Petrosillo 163). The current strain has raised more fear because due to lower levels of immunity, more people are likely to die.

According to the WHO forecasts, in the next two years a third of the total world population would be infected with the virus though the patients can recover within two weeks once a vaccine is administered. This virus was responsible for over 40 million deaths in regions throughout the world, and around 4.9 million deaths occurred in India alone (Petrosillo 165).  The pandemic subsided shortly after 1918, but sporadic cases of the H1N1 virus continued to appear.  The Swine Flu disappeared from the world in 1957, in which scientists believe was caused by people developing immunity.

Mexico became the first country in 2009 to declare an increase in patients requiring hospitalization for “pneumonia and an unusual series of deaths,” which are common side-effects of prolonged influenza (Petrosillo 163).  Many medical professionals believed that these effects were caused by a new flu virus.  Officials for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta uncovered two cases in younger children from neighboring California counties that were just across the border from Mexico (Petrosillo 164).  The CDC labeled the new strain the “Swine Flu” and a large epidemic began in the United States.  Recently, it has become evident that the RNA transcription within the Swine Flu genetics has mutated since the original 1918 epidemic that has enabled the agent to avoid human immunity.  In essence, the Swine Flu has mutated with porcine, avian and human influenza agents to create the current H1N1 virus that exists in 2009.  This has been the main cause for the problems in creating an efficient anti-virus treatment and medicinal vaccine for the disease.

The major symptoms of the swine flu include fatigue, headaches, severe diarrhea and vomiting, sore throat, fever, pneumonia, respiratory failure, fast breathing, bluish skin color, and lack of appetite, lethargy and irritability. Most of these symptoms can be confused with those of seasonal influenza and respiratory tract infections but the fever is sometimes absent in H1N1 virus. Particular groups are at higher risk of infection that could lead to death than others. They include pregnant mothers, people with a history of chronic illness, children below two years, and obese children and adults. By 13th august 2009, the worldwide deaths reported were 1799 in 182,166 cases with the highest number reported in the Americas of 1579 deaths in 105,882 cases. Africa recorded the lowest number of deaths of 3 out of 1469 cases.

The eastern Mediterranean region reported 8 deaths out of 2532 cases. Europe reported 53 deaths out of over 32,000 cases. South East Asia reported 106 deaths in 13,172 cases while the west Pacific reported 50 deaths in 27,111 cases (WHO, August 2009). This data was based on qualitative and epidemiological indicators such as the geographical spread of distribution sites that reported the outbreak of swine flu, the trend that showed the increasing levels of disease outbreak, the intensity of disease with the population showing influenza and pneumonia related symptoms and the impact of outbreak with overwhelming demands above the usual demand for health care especially with capacity of health being below demand.

It is the job of the nursing professional in the example to immediately contact the local health department upon determining that a potential swine flu outbreak may have occurred in the family.  These signs cannot go unreported and must be communicated to the health department to take appropriate action to inform and contain the outbreak as best as possible.  Nurses must also work with the local health department in order to obtain any appropriate laboratory information or evaluations that may be necessary for the specific cases, as well as the rest of the hospital should any additional cases occur.  The laboratory will require samples of all appropriate materials and the nursing professional should accommodate as best as possible.  To ensure that all cases are properly treated, it is crucial that the nurse works with the local health department to provide all detailed information on the number of infected persons, the official medical reporting forms for the state, as well as any other epidemiological information that may be helpful for the health department to act accordingly.

As respiratory diseases become a serious concern in our local community, it would be my job as a community health nurse to work with other health organizations to properly educate the community in a number of ways.  First of all, it is important to share information with students in the schools and send information home with them to their parents on the dangers of dust mites; secondhand smoke, household dust, and possibly the smelting factory nearby may be contributing factors.  Information for properly cleaning the home to remove some of these household dangers will be crucial components to educating the community.  In addition, I would recommend holding a meeting with top medical personnel in the community to discuss ways of speaking with the local smelting factory to take efforts to eliminate some of the exhaust and dangerous chemicals that are omitted into the community.  Finally, an overall commercial advertising campaign may be initiated to reach the community through their television in their homes.  Using this form of media as a communication tool can help reach more individuals than some of the other previously discussed methods.

The appropriate emergency responses that guide the treatment and prevention of the H1N1 virus have been laid down by international and national standards, both at household and hospital level. Some countries have made it mandatory for everyone to be vaccinated. Health workers, children and pregnant mothers have been given priority for vaccination. Nations have set in place aggressive strategies for any possible outbreaks for preparation and prevention. The military in the US set mass vaccinations in schools and colleges. Other measures include the high emotion associated with panic and insecurity, and the death toll has caused increasing mortuary capacity legislated in Britain and mass graves for the dead. It is also likely that the reported cases by WHO are understated due to a larger number of indicators other than the basic indicators.

The WHO, CDC (Centre for Disease Control), health experts and locals officials have laid procedures to respond to pandemics which also apply to H1N1 outbreak. Children showing the above symptoms should stay away from school and consult with a doctor or school nurse, this is especially the symptoms exist within the family or a member of the family has travelled to an area labeled as a pandemic area by the WHO. The WHO raised the pandemic alert to level six to which the pandemic which is new to humans has spread in many parts of the world and caused disease. In this phase, the measures include:  Have provisions on Pandemic influenza response and case management in order to be a basis for implementation and prevention. Ensure that the regional outbreak response teams are operational. Have rapid response teams trained to cope with the overwhelming demands of outbreaks. Increase surveillances by health and clinical personnel for any suspect cases of the virus. Setting a stakeholders committee to have a weekly basis report on the progress and monitoring the situation.

For the areas that have not been labeled as high pandemic, the high pandemic alert response requires that the health department put in place high levels of preparedness and vigilance. The measure will not institute closure of border points and trade between infected and non infected areas, rather routine check ups ought to be done at border points to adequately quarantine and treat infected people. Mass vaccinations have been put in place in high pandemic areas while mild infections do not need any medication. Measures have also been put in place to prevent spread of germs such as covering of the nose when sneezing, avoiding close contact with those infected, and washing of hands with soap and water after sneezing and avoiding touching of the nose and eyes to avoid germs spreading. Any symptoms should be reported to the nearest health facility for testing. Communities in America that border the Mexican states are more likely to report such infection cases.

How the Swine Flu Outbreak Could Affect the Community

Since the virus seem to have high vulnerability levels in children as early as 6months and young adults of up to 24 years, the school community has directly been affected by the outbreak. Precautionary measures of closing schools and colleges have been put in place to avoid spread of the disease. Rooms have been set aside in schools to isolate students with flu like symptoms and surgical masks recommended for patients and school nurses taking care of them. Education campaigns have been launched in California by health officials at community levels alongside college students with a mission to stock health supplies such as paper masks, hand sanitizers, food and water supplies, and have preparedness measures to any further incidents of the outbreak. In Maryland, the local health department, schools administrators and parents have set up an action team for swine flu in order to help cope with the outbreak.

At workplace, the community of employers and employees has put in place reviews and update plans to deal with swine flu. They aim at reducing infection among them and therefore are screened for infection. This will help alleviate adverse effects throughout the supply chains and help maintain operations. The Centre for Disease Control estimates that at the height of the pandemic, about 40% of the work force has been rendered unproductive either as infected or affected victims. Should the work place close down due to severe illnesses, people might be forced to work from home.

Quarantine measures have their own problematic effects to the community such as failed access to work places, groceries stores, and major household and office supply outlets. Most effectively vaccination other than preventive measures such as washing of hands thoroughly with soap has been accepted. With the awareness program in communities, most people think that the health workers are truthful on the extent of infection while few believe they are giving inadequate information. Most people have faith in the government to be able to prepare and respond to the swine flu pandemic.

How a Community Health Nurse Could Direct Community Education Program to Address Elevated Risk Factors Related to Asthma

There are factors that contribute to the spread of asthma such as tobacco smoking, environmental allergens, and poor management of the disease at home. The health care program for patients is provided by nurses and physicians to help address the problem. A community health nurse could use alternative approach which is a school based program for parents and students to help them prevent impacts and control its spread. This program is meant to promote voluntary service in the community through training sessions on asthma control that would help implement the program in schools, minority groups that are mostly affected by asthma.

The community nurse should mobilize the voluntary group in pairs to assign them different schools to educate people on asthma prevention and management. This will help them gain knowledge on the negative impacts of the disease through community awareness and also promote community service in alleviating disease spread through collaborative efforts. Through the health education program, the community members are able to meet needs in schools despite the limited budget intervention through voluntary means and promote parental involvement in asthma management. The overall goal is to reduce the mortality levels associated with asthma especially among children which the volunteers have managed to do well in schools (Wansley et al 60).

The community health nurse can be limited in coordination of program with the volunteer trainers as stakeholders especially in convincing them to join without pay. Other issues include bureaucracies, adopting a health education curriculum, getting people to train, and implementing the program to individual schools. The best available persons for training would be school nurses due to their knowledge in asthma related cases in their schools which may also involve multiple cases of lead poisoning to those living close industrial plants. Special focus by the health worker would be comprehensive search on factors in the community that trigger asthma attacks and spread such as domestic factors and environmental pollutants.

References

Petrosillo et al. “The novel influenza A (H1N1) virus pandemic: An update.” Annals of Thoracic Medicine 4.4 (2009): 163-172. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 28 Dec. 2009.

World Health Organization. (2009). Pandemic Report on H1N1. Update 62.

Wansley et al. (1997). Voluntary Service to Meet Health Needs. Practicing Nurse Guide: Q 3, 59-66

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