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Swine Influenza - Swine Flu


Introduction

Swine Influenza is a group of influenza viruses that affect pigs. There are four main types of it, but like all human influenza viruses, swine influenza viruses change constantly.

Human infections are uncommon, but have occurred in the past. Human infections with swine flu are more common in individuals who have direct exposure (close contact) with pigs.

The new strain that began circulating in April 2009 can move from person to person, and so more people than usual are being infected.

If a swine flu virus mutates to a form that can move from person-to person , it is likely to spread in the same ways traditional seasonal flu spreads between people. It's called “droplet” spread. When an infectious individual coughs, sneezes, talks, etc. they expel contaminated droplets. If these droplets get into someone else's mouth, eyes or nose, that person can become infected with the flu.

This is why personal hygiene is critical to staying well.

Definition

Swine influenza (also called swine flu or pig flu) is a group of influenza viruses that usually infects pigs. Infections in humans are uncommon. The current swine flu which is infecting people is a
new strain of influenza A/H1N1. It is not certain how it developed. Its genetic makeup shows parts of human flu, avian (bird) flu and swine flu.

Causes & Risk Factors

1) Direct exposure / close contact with pigs
2) Being in areas suspected to be pandemic, such as USA, Mexico, UK, etc
3) Direct contact with infected person or animal
4) Being in overcrowded places, which would increase the risk of transmission of influenza
Types of Swine Influenza
  1. There are four main influenza type A virus "subtypes" which have been isolated in pigs: H1N1, H1N2, H3N2, H3N1)
  2. The most common strain found in pigs is the H1N1 virus. However, sometimes pigs can be infected with more than one virus type at a time. This gives the genes from the viruses an opportunity to mix and "reassort" to form a new virus.
Symptoms

The symptoms are expected to be similar to that of regular human seasonal influenza:
fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, coughing.

Some reports indicate infected people may also have:
a runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting diarrhea

Prevention

Wash your hands
  • Try to stay in good general health
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Be physically active
  • Manage your stress
  • Drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food
  • Try not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:

  1. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol based
  3. hand cleaners are also effective.
  4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  5. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  6. If you get sick with influenza, it is recommended that you stay home from work and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Treatment & expectations

Centers of Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommend the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses.

Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body.

If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications.

For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms).

Travel Advisory

I don't advise anyone to travel to the infected counties unless it is so urgent and try to take all necessary protections you maybe able to take like the mask, also avoid being in crowded areas.

More

Swine Flue
US Centers for disease control and prevention

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