Infectious Diseases: Local and Federal Departments, Zoonotic Influenza and Antiviral Resistance

Local and federal departments monitoring infectious diseases

Infectious diseases pose serious threats in the modern world. Although it was previously thought that the diseases had been eliminated, new infectious diseases have emerged over the recent decade. Amongst the emergent infectious diseases are the West Nile virus and SARS. In order to detect and keep track of cases of infectious diseases, there are a number of local and federal organizations charged with infectious diseases surveillance.

The organizations work alongside international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO). Amongst the organizations that monitor infectious diseases include Departments of Defense (DOD), Agriculture ministry (USDA), Homeland Security department (DHS), Food and Drug Administration department (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (Shope, 2009).

Infectious disease cases are recorded and verified by local health units. The departments monitor infectious disease incidences, identify outbreaks and report to the Center for Disease Control (Smith, Andrews, & Laidlaw, 2011). The federal government also has departmental units which gather and evaluate information from respective states and also monitor national disease trends. Further, the federal agencies and departments implement preventive measures to control disease prevalence. The Federal Drug Agency, on the other hand, undertakes an analysis of infectious disease outbreak cases.

Zoonotic influenza

Zoonotic Influenza is contagious. It is transmitted through airborne contact. There are various types of zoonotic influenza cases recorded over the last decade. A search of the PubMed database revealed more than 100 incidences of zoonotic influenza infection, 65% of whom were civilians and 35% military (Smith, Andrews, & Laidlaw, 2011). In most of the cases, the affected parties had been exposed to swine. As a matter of fact, despite there being sporadic clinical cases among humans, the actual incidence is not known. Notably, though, people who interact with swine are the most vulnerable.

Antiviral resistance

According to Smith (2006) antiviral resistance is defined as a virus that has altered in such a manner that existing antiviral drugs are less effective in treatment and prevention. The CDC undertakes routine data collection in order to keep track of influenza virus resistance. In the United States, there are 4 drugs approved by the FDA for influenza cases. These include amantadine, rimantadine, zanamivir, and oseltamivir (Olsen, 2010). Conventionally, CDC guides respect of the appropriate antiviral drugs for respective cases of flu. Flu viruses have a reputation for constantly changing. The viruses are known to change across seasons or even within the course of a single flu season.

As the flu viruses replicate, their genetic make-up alters in such a manner that they become resistant to the antiviral drugs used in treatment. Influenza cases of flu are either classified as common type or animal-borne. The common types are those regularly affecting humans while the animal-borne influenza cases of flu originate from animals such as swine. The most common type of flu virus that affects humans is the human parainfluenza virus (HPIVs) which is also a leading cause of respiratory illnesses among infants and little children (Ito, Couceiro, & Kelm, 2008). The swine flu virus is not common among humans.

Nonetheless, there are a few reported cases of human infections. These are what are known as “variant viruses.” As a matter of fact, special attention is often given to the variants given that they have a strong impact on humans than they do on animals.


Ito, T., Couceiro, J. N., & Kelm, S. (2008). Molecular basis for the generation in pigs of influenza A viruses with pandemic potential. J Virol, 72 (3), p. 7367-73.

Olsen, C. W. (2010). Influenza in pigs and their role as the intermediate host. Malden, MA: Blackwell Science, p. 137-45.

Shope, R. (2009). Swine influenza: experimental transmission and pathology. J Exp Med, 54 (13), p. 349-59.

Smith, T. F. (2006). Isolation of swine influenza virus from autopsy lung tissue of man. N Engl J Med, 294 (11), p. 708-10.

Smith, W., Andrews, C. H., & Laidlaw, P. P. (2011). A virus obtained from influenza patients. Lancet, 225 (13), p. 66-8.