What is influenza?

Updated: Apr 23, 2019
  • Author: Hien H Nguyen, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Influenza, one of the most common infectious diseases, is a highly contagious airborne disease that occurs in seasonal epidemics and manifests as an acute febrile illness with variable degrees of systemic symptoms, ranging from mild fatigue to respiratory failure and death. Influenza causes significant loss of workdays, human suffering, and mortality.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) documented that seasonal influenza was responsible for 34,400-57,300 deaths during the 2018-2019 season. [1] Mortality is highest in infants and elderly persons.


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