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 Influenza, or common name "flu", is an infectious disease which affects millions of people worldwide. Influenza is caused by Orthomyxoviridae (Influenza viruses) which consists of a family of RNA viruses[1]. Influenza viruses mainly infect the respiratory system. Symptoms of influenza include runny nose, headache, fever, sore throat and nausea.

The influenza virus mutates rapidly so annual vaccinations are needed as new strains develop. Mutations cause the surface proteins to mutate which makes the vaccination less effective. Antigenic drift is when protection is gradually lost as new strains appear[2].


  1. Brooks, G.F., Carroll, K.C., Butel, J.S., Morse, S.A., Mietzner, T.A. (2010:539). Jawetz, Melnick & Adelberg's Medical Microbiology, 25th edition, New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies.
  2. D. Papachristodoulou, A. Snape, W.H. Elliot, D.C. Elliot, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, 5th edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014, page 24

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