Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is an infectious disease of birds and mammals caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae, the influenza viruses. The most common symptoms are chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, headache (often severe), coughing, weakness/fatigue and general discomfort. Although it is often confused with other influenza-like illnesses, especially the common cold, influenza is a more severe disease caused by a different type of virus. Influenza may produce nausea and vomiting, particularly in children, but these symptoms are more common in the unrelated gastroenteritis, which is sometimes inaccurately referred to as "stomach flu" or "24-hour flu".Scientists are actively investigating the flu, and here are links to some of their research.
New data being presented at IDWeek 2012TM shows the fatal risk that influenza poses even for children without underlying health conditions and the effectiveness of school-based vaccination programs in protecting student populations. Together, these findings support the crucial public health message that families should take the flu virus seriously every year.