Pandemic influenza (H5N1)


If/when a pandemic takes place, clinical nurses will need to use advanced assessment skills to recognize those who have been infected as well as those at risk. The symptoms of H5N1 have been shown to mimic the pandemic flu of 1918. Early symptoms of H5N1 mimic that of regular seasonal flu. However, the disease process of the H5N1 appears to be more inflammatory in nature leading to a mortality rate >50% affecting those with healthy immune systems. There is no rapid method to test for H5N1 and no vaccine. A person with seasonal flu or a regular cold has upper respiratory symptoms and an increased WBC count. A person with H5N1 has upper respiratory symptoms and a low WBC count. Could these clinical markers be used as an effective screening tool to triage and disperse available treatments (anti-virals, ventilators, etc.) in the throws of a full blown pandemic? If/When H5N1 mutates to develop human-to-human transmission initiating the pandemic, could the virulence decrease?


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One Response to “Pandemic influenza (H5N1)”

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