Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases Essay Discussion

Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases Essay Discussion
Discussion – Week 1

        Influenza, also known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory virus affecting the nose, throat, and lungs. For most people, the flu will resolve independently, but sometimes the complications can be deadly. The flu is considered most dangerous for children, adults over the age of 65, residents of long-term care facilities, pregnant women, American Indians, Alaskan natives, or people with pre-existing health conditions (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2020a). Symptoms often include a runny nose, fever/chills, muscle aches, headaches, cough, sore throat, malaise, and sometimes vomiting/diarrhea (CDC, 2020a). This virus travels in air droplets when an infected person sneezes, talks, or coughs. Therefore, the most critical prevention method is covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough, as well as proper handwashing techniques.


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The flu virus can cause serious complications, including pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma exacerbations, ear infections, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and heart problems (CDC, 2020a). Pneumonia is one of the most common complications and can potentially be fatal if not treated appropriately. Influenza viruses are continually changing with new strains appearing yearly (CDC, 2020a). Therefore, antibodies you have encountered from having the flu prior may not protect individuals from the newer influenza strains. The best prevention for influenza is by getting a yearly flu vaccine. Although they are not one hundred percent effective, it is still considered your best defense. Usually, only fluids and rest are required to treat the flu, but your doctor may prescribe an antiviral drug if symptoms are severe enough. There are four antivirals on the market used to lessen your symptoms by a day or so and decrease the risk of complications. These drugs include Tamiflu (oseltamivir), zanamivir (Relenza), peramivir (Rapivab), and baloxavir (Xofluza)(CDC, 2020a). Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases Essay DiscussionHealthcare workers have an ethical obligation to protect their patients from illnesses, including influenza. As nurses, we are in close contact with our patients, which increases the risk of the spread of infections. Since influenza is highly contagious, healthcare workers should always educate patients and their families on proper prevention techniques.

The best method for managing influenza is preventing it from occurring by encouraging patients and healthcare works to get the yearly flu vaccine. Nurses are responsible for screening patients for the flu vaccine and administering it to those who do not have contraindications and documenting on those who refuse the vaccine. The CDC (200b) estimated there where 39,000,000-56,000,000 flu cases in the 2019 flu season, with an estimated 24,000-62,000 deaths. Therefore, getting vaccinated could potentially prevent the virus’s spread and reduce the number of deaths from flu-related complications.

Influenza affects my personal nursing practice of hospice and palliative care to a great extent. Many hospice patients believe the flu vaccine is pointless since they are already critically ill, and worry that the vaccine will potentially cause them to get the flu since their immune systems are already weakened. In reality, hospice patients need the vaccine more than any other population due to their chronic medical conditions and weak immune systems. During the influenza season, our agency has to increase the practices of minimizing exposure by monitoring healthcare personnel closer, increasing workers’ educational training, and monitoring flu activity. Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases Essay Discussion

The influenza virus continues to evolve as new antigenic variants are continually emerging, which leads to yearly pandemics (CDC, 2019). The antigenic drift causes the virus genes to mutate, which changes the surface proteins, also known as antigens (CDC, 2019). These changes cause the infected persons pre-existing antibodies not to recognize the new virus, thus causing infection (CDC, 2019). Since influenza A subtypes exist in birds it is considered a non-eradicable disease with prevention and control as the only option (Sharma et al., 2019). For this reason, influenza is constantly re-emerging



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). How the flu virus can change: “Drift” and “Shift”. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/change.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020a). Influenza (Flu). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/symptoms-causes/syc-20351719

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020b). 2019-2020 U.S. flu season: Preliminary burden estimates. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/preliminary-in-season-estimates.htm

Morrow, A., (2020). Flu vaccines and hospice patients. Very Well Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/flu-vaccines-and-hospice-patients-1132295

National Institutes of Health. (2007). Understanding emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK20370/

Sharma, L., Rebaza, A., & Dela Cruz, C.S. (2019). When “B” becomes “A”: The emerging threat of influenza virus. European Respiratory Journal, (54)2. https://


As presented in this week’s readings, many individuals acquire infections in the community as well as during treatment in the hospital. As a nurse, it is important to know what is going on in the world. In addition to reading scholarly literature, reading the paper and watching the news helps to keep a nurse aware of what is going on currently. In addition, many organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) track current health trends and post updates on their websites, along with Fact Sheets to help educate, prevent, and treat new and re-emerging diseases. These Fact Sheets are made to be short and easy to read so that health care professionals and patients are more likely to read and understand the information. Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases Essay Discussion

For this Discussion, you will examine an emerging or re-emerging disease and the nurse’s role in prevention and management of the disease. Locate an article in a newspaper, in a lay magazine, or on an organizational website that discusses an emerging or re-emerging infectious disease that is currently affecting your community. Reflect on the article you selected and think about how the emerging or re-emerging disease might affect nursing practice.

By Day 3

Respond to the following:

Briefly summarize the article you selected and provide the reference. Then, address the following:

  • What implications does the disease have for nursing practice?
  • How does the emergence of this disease affect your personal practice?
  • Why do you think that this disease is emerging/re-emerging?
  • What is the nurse’s role in preventing and managing the impact of infectious diseases both from the patient and nurse perspective?

Support your response with references from the professional nursing literature.

Note Initial Post: A 3-paragraph (at least 350 words) response. Be sure to use evidence from the readings and include in-text citations. Utilize essay-level writing practice and skills, including the use of transitional material and organizational frames. Avoid quotes; paraphrase to incorporate evidence into your own writing. A reference list is required. Use the most current evidence (usually ≤ 5 years old).

By Day 7

Read two or more of your colleagues’ postings from the Discussion question (support with evidence if indicated).

Respond with a comment that asks for clarification, provides support for, or contributes additional information to two or more of your colleagues’ postings.

Post a Discussion entry on three different days of the week. Refer to the Discussion Rubric found in the Course Information and Grading Criteria area. Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases Essay Discussion

Discussion – Week 1


For this week’s discussion, and like many others I’m sure, I chose to focus on the obvious and new emerging illness that is COVID-19. The American Nurses Association recently published an article titled “Nurses, Ethics, and the Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic” that I am basing my discussion on. This is obviously a challenging time for our country and our citizens but is putting nurses and health care workers in difficult situations personally and professionally. “Professional nurses historically bring compassionate competent care to disaster response but are challenged to provide care when the nature of their work puts them at increased risk.” (ANA, 2020). In times of devastation, the world can see how crucial the nursing profession is to society.  

During pandemic situations, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses must consider how they will deliver quality care to patients, in addition to keeping themselves and their loved ones at the lowest risk possible. This is not something that is easily done. As frontline health care professionals, nurses are the true heroes in health care as we are willing to do whatever we need to, to aid in the care of patients.  They are an important part of health systems, as they handle this crisis and develop strategic planning processes for the future. These processes set objectives, allocate resources, and establish policies that are the framework of the organization and will determine the degree of financial success and quality of care (Mose et al., 2019). 

The emergence of COVID-19 affects my personal practice in the aspect that I want to care for others when they are sick, but also want to protect my loved ones at home. I expose myself, like all nurses, daily and it is stressful going home knowing that my chosen line of work could negatively affect my family. I have a daughter who is 2 years old, has asthma, and as a mother, it terrifies me that she could contract COVID-19 on the premise that I gave it to her. That’s a hard pill to swallow as a mother. In addition, I’m unable to care and sit with patients as I’m accustomed to. Currently, I work in the clinic setting, and while I am very thankful that I’m not as exposed as I would be in an acute setting, I hate that my patients can’t see me smile at them, or vice versa. I hate that I am unable to sit and catch up with my patient’s that I haven’t seen in a while because I want to limit my exposure and time in patient rooms, in addition to lessening the exposure I could take to the next patient room that could be someone who is receiving cancer treatment. Overall, the pandemic has drastically affected the amount of quality of care I am able to provide.  

While COVID-19 was first initially seen in China, we are seeing an emergence of this disease as it appears to be a mutation of other diseases we have seen recently and know exist. According to the Center for Disease Control “Coronaviruses, named for the crown-like spikes on their surfaces, are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. There are many types of human coronaviruses, including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.” (CDC, 2020). Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases Essay Discussion


American Hospital Association. (2020, May). Hospital and health systems face unprecedented financial pressures due to COVID-19https://www.aha.org/guidesreports/2020-05-05-hospitals-and-health-systems-face-unprecedented-financial-pressures-due

American Nurse Association. (2020, April 24). Survey: Nurses fear going to work due to lack of protection from virus more than 32k nurses share experience from the front lineshttps://www.nursingworld.org/news/news-releases/2020/survey-nurses-fear-going-to-work-due-to-lack-of-protection-from-virus-more-than-32k-nurses-share-experience-from-the-front-lines/   

Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases Essay Discussion

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