This image may look like a piece of abstract art, but it actually depicts influenza A. One of the three flu virus types responsible for the fatigue, fever and other symptoms that plague many of us from October to May, influenza A can infect people, birds and other animals. As noted in the photo caption on the Wellcome Images page, influenza A is the only strain of the virus that "undergoes the large and very rapid changes leading to new viral subtypes known as antigenic shift." The image illustrates the variety of forms the virus can take.
This week, we’ve asked Corry Dekker, MD, medical director of the Stanford-Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Vaccine Program, to respond to your questions about flu vaccine research and ways to prepare yourself and your family for the approaching flu season. Questions can be submitted to Dekker until Monday at 5 PM Pacific time by sending a tweet that includes the hashtag #AskSUMed or posting your question in the comments section of this entry.
Previously: Ask Stanford Med: Infectious disease specialist taking questions on seasonal influenza, Student “Flu Crew” brings no-cost flu vaccinations to the community, Dynamic duo: Flu vaccine plus adjuvant bolsters immunity and School of Medicine’s new dean on the importance of health-care workers getting flu shots
Photo by R. Dourmashkin/Wellcome Images