Lidia B. Brydak

Pandemia ptasiej grypy - mit czy realne zagrożenie

Avian influenza pandemic - myth or real threat. Influenza is an acute viral respiratory disease with sudden onset of symptoms and high infectivity. This is still an important problem for public health. Every epidemic season influenza virus causes millions cases of illness worldwide, 500,000 to 1 million of deaths and hundreds of thousands of post-influenza complications. Influenza is a highly infectious disease. Every year about 100 million of people have flu. Post-influenza complications are serious dangers for health and live. The first way of prevention of influenza is vaccination. Healthy, social and economic benefits resulting from influenza vaccinations are clear and undisputed. Neuraminidase inhibitors are antiinfluenza drugs of new generation. One of them, i.e. zanamivir, may be used for treatment, while the second drug, i.e. oseltamivir - for treatment and prophylaxis. Nevertheless, they are not substitutes of vaccines against influenza. Only in USA annually economic losses due to influenza are assessed for 76 to 167 billions of US dollars. Besides influenza, over 200 other viruses may cause similar symptoms. Due to this fact laboratory diagnostics allowing to confirm influenza infection as soon as within 2 hours has a significant importance. Diagnostics is very important when anti-influenza drugs of new generation, i.e. neuraminidase inhibitors, are taken into consideration. Since 1997-2006 there are regularly registered cases of human infections with avian influenza A/H5N1/ viruses that crossed the species barrier. Such situation causes that there is a real danger of influenza pandemic outbreak and simultaneously indicates a necessity to enhance influenza surveillance, to increase the number of people vaccinated against influenza and to prepare the pandemic preparedness plan by each of the countries. In 2001 the National Influenza Center, National Institute of Hygiene in Poland prepared a project of the "National Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan for Poland" that was regularly updated according to new information from WHO. Assessments that were made show that the next influenza pandemic may cause death of even 100 millions of people in the world.