Title

Influenza: The Changes To The Flu Season

Author

Kara Fonseca

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Date Information

December 2019

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Sheila Marie Schreiner

Abstract

In this paper, the changes in flu season were examined. Additionally, reasons for changes to the flu season were explored. Data gathered from the Influenza Research Database was used to form graphs that show the changes in influenza cases yearly from 2008-2009 flu season to the 2018-2019 flu season in Massachusetts. A background for H1N1 and H3N2 including the difference between neuraminidase (N) and hemagglutinin (H), the excepted current timeline of flu season is provided. There are a number of factors that play a role in the changing flu season length, such as vaccination rates, effectiveness of that particular year’s flu vaccine, as well as the changing length of season and temperature. Other factors, such as signs and symptoms of influenza, affected population clusters, how the disease spreads from person to person, average temperature in Boston from US Climate Data, as well as the role herd immunity plays in protecting the general population could contribute to changes in flu season. This information is useful for human health, as we can develop new ways of protecting ourselves against influenza, as well as preventing a future pandemic.

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