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Epidemiology in Public and Global Health

Epidemiology in Public and Global Health

Epidemiology is quite crucial in public health in the sense that it provides crucial data needed by the public health authority to formulate necessary policies. Combating infectious diseases at a global scale is a daunting task, and for the health experts to work effectively, they need reliable epidemiological data to act upon. The purpose of this paper is to explore the influence of pandemics using the article “Updated Preparedness and Response Framework for Influenza Pandemics” by Holloway, Rasmussen, Zaza, Cox, and Jernigan.

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Article Summary

The article “Updated Preparedness and Response Framework for Influenza Pandemics” by Holloway, Rasmussen, Zaza, Cox, and Jernigan (2014) presents a report on how influenza pandemics are handled. The report provides a framework that stipulates the best practices for responding to influenza pandemics. The framework emphasizes that responding adequately to a flu pandemic requires a complex and pre-planned framework for the pre-pandemic and the pandemic stages of the exercise. More so, the pre-pandemic response is mainly about investigating the cases of novel influenza and studying their patterns of spread in order to determine the potential of transmission. Therefore, the outcomes of this phase determine the initiation of the pandemic response all the way to the elimination of the pandemic and the eventual preparation for the next pandemic wave. The greatest role of the public health authorities in this case is to assess the risks in the pandemic wave and make the requisite decisions on the course of action, as it is relevant in the contexts of their specific jurisdictions.

Requisite remedy decisions could come from the local, state, or even federal levels, depending on the magnitude of the risk at hand. The report also presents a pandemic severity assessment framework that is meant to measure the transmissibility of the pandemic and thus, generate the most likely results regarding the potential scope and impact of the pandemic with or without the ongoing efforts to combat it. Holloway et al. (2014) mainly offer information on the six pandemic intervals and associated indicators that affect decision-making in the public health sector in relation to the management of a pandemic. The framework focuses on the managerial component of handling a pandemic without necessarily overlooking the scientific aspect involved in the process. While the policies and the decision-making aspects are central to the framework, the role of the medical personnel is also well represented in the contexts of investigating the novel influenza to implementing the pandemic wave response.

The Relationship among Causal Agents, Susceptible Persons, and Environmental Factors

Influenza is a highly contagious viral malady. Influenza is mostly airborne and it can be passed on through a close contact with an infected person, or even being in the same room with them could lead to exposure. Therefore, once a person gets the flu, the transmission could be uncontrollable unless there is a vaccine available before the pandemic starts spreading (Reed et al., 2013). Considering that the disease is airborne, the susceptible persons in the case of the influenza pandemic are simply every member of American society. Anyone who is exposed to the virus could get sick depending on their immunity and whether or not they have been vaccinated against that particular strain. Furthermore, environmental factors play a crucial role in the spread of the disease. People in the crowded places, such as public transport, hotels and restaurants, public events, schools, churches and even hospitals, are more likely to be infected than those in the closed areas with limited accessibility (Van Kerkhove & Ferguson, 2012). This means that the environment that one is exposed to also affects their risk level. However, those in private areas are similarly exposed if they encounter an infected individual.

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Role of the BSN Nurse in Addressing the Outbreak

A BSN nurse may or may not be in the direct contact with the patients in case of an influenza pandemic, depending on the severity of the situation. In most cases, it can be expected that a BSN nurse would be in the managerial capacity, organizing the other nurses who are supposed to work directly with the patient. This means that the capacity for the BSN nurse lies mainly in decision-making and planning as well as overseeing the implementation process. When addressing the outbreak, the role of the BSN nurse is to determine the most effective course of action that can be undertaken not just by the medical personnel but also by the policy makers and private partners. The BSN nurse is also responsible for coming up with the preventative measures that can help mitigate the pandemic and prevent it from getting worse.

Possible Health Promotion/Health Protection Strategies that could be Implemented to Mitigate the Outbreak

The first possible health promotion strategy that can be implemented to mitigate the flu pandemic is educating the patients about the pandemic and its status so that they could take care of themselves. When there is a flu pandemic, most people are likely to be vigilant about their health; thus, they seek medical attention as soon as they get the early signs and symptoms of being infected. This medical attention is sought to protect those around them and to ensure that they are treated in time to prevent the infection spread from becoming too serious. Informing the masses of the presence of a pandemic heading their way enables them to be prepared for it and to look out for any signs that they could be infected, which helps curb the spread of flu significantly. Early diagnosis and treatment help to reduce the spread of the virus as well.

Another possible strategy in this case involves getting the patients to be vaccinated before they are infected. In most cases, a pandemic is investigated before the threat gets real. This means that a threat may be detected and discussed in the medical fraternity before it actually becomes a reality. At this point, nurses may be able to advise their patients to seek vaccines for the impending pandemics to be on the safe side regardless of whether the threat has been confirmed or not (Costard, Fournié, & Pfeiffer, 2014). This will help to mitigate the outbreak by ensuring that a section of the population is safe from the pandemic regardless of their level of exposure. These patients trust their nurse practitioners and they rely on them for any guidance related to their health. This is what makes hearing about an impending pandemic from a nurse more effective than hearing it from the media and panicking with the rest of the population.

In addition, it can be considered to push for a mass vaccination in the wake of an incoming pandemic. For example, when the swine flu was first reported on the US soil, a prudent move would have been to push for the vaccination of all the people who were at risk for the virus, which primarily included everyone in America. Working ahead of the pandemic is a great way to limit its impact on the population, especially when there is a preventative measure at hand. With a flu vaccine, the public health sector can help to prevent so much pain, suffering, and even death among the American population (Trock, Burke, & Cox, 2012). Considering the cost of a mass vaccination and the fact that some of the susceptible persons may not be able to afford the vaccines on short notice, the government can be convinced to invest in the prevention program rather than throwing all the available resources to managing the pandemic.

Summary

Since the Influenza virus is highly contagious, its pandemics can be challenging for the health authorities to deal with. It is difficult to predict when influenza will strike, but when it strikes, it affects all the sections of the population regardless of age or gender. The best way to stop the spread of the pandemic is to ensure that affected persons are detected early and separated from the rest. A BSN nurse is in a higher position within the medical fraternity, and she can be responsible for organizing and making decisions that could help stop the pandemic. The challenge of combating any epidemic is decision-making. As such, the government and the relevant authorities must agree on the best course of action within a short time to avert a catastrophe.

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