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Know more about H1 N1

Swine Influenza is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that cause regular outbreaks in pigs.

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE |
May 6, 2009 3:53:29 am

What is swine flu or HINI virus?
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that cause regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu,but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person,but in the past,this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.

Are there human infections with swine flu in the US?
In late March and early April 2009,cases of human infection with swine influenza A (H1N1) viruses were first reported in Southern California and near San Antonio,Texas. Other US states have reported cases of swine flu infection in humans and cases have been reported internationally as well. An updated case count of confirmed swine flu infections in the United States is kept at CDC and local and state health agencies are working together to investigate this situation.

Is this swine flu virus contagious?
CDC has determined that this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However,at this time,it is not known how easily the virus spreads between people.

What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?
The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever,cough,sore throat,body aches,headache,chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past,severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu,swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

How does swine flu spread?
Spread of this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

Can I get swine influenza from eating or preparing pork?
No. Swine influenza viruses are not spread by food. You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.

How can someone with the flu infect someone else?
Infected people may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to seven or more days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick,as well as while you are sick.

What should I do to keep from getting the flu?
First and most important: 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.

Are there medicines to treat swine flu?
Yes. CDC recommends 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 two days of symptoms).

How long can an infected person spread swine flu to others?
People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possible for up to seven days following illness onset. Children,especially younger children,might potentially be contagious for longer periods.

Should I travel to other countries?
Who advises no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders. It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention,in line with guidance from national authorities.

There is also no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products.

(Sourced from WHO/CDC/NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF VIROLOGY SCIENTISTS)

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