Just how big a threat is Swine Flu?
Novel influenza A (H1N1) is a new flu virus of swine origin that was first detected in April 2009. The virus is infecting people and is spreading from person-to-person sparking a growing outbreak of illness in the United States. An increasing number of cases are being reported internationally as well.
21st April 2 UK holidaymakers who returned from Mexico were confirmed to have swine flu while seven of their close family and friends are being treated with anti-viral medication after showing mild influenza-like symptoms.
Up to 22 other possible cases have been reported according to the British House of Commons that Britain was one of the best-prepared countries in the world for a possible swine influenza pandemic.
The confirmation of cases in India Malaysia and Turkey brought the number of countries with confirmed cases of H1N1 commonly known as swine flu to 39 the WHO said.
The vast majority of cases have been in Mexico and the United States. The spread of the disease has led the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic is imminent.
On April 29 it raised its pandemic alert to 5 on a 6-level scale. The virus is behaving much like a seasonal influenza strain which kills 500 000 annually by spreading rapidly and causing mainly mild disease but severe illness in some people.
Basic hygiene: Your chances of avoiding the swine flu virus will be much improved if you keep rigorously clean. Keep a small bottle of alcohol hand rub in your pocket and wash your hands regularly. Throw away tissues that you’ve sneezed on. As the virus can survive for up to 24 hours on a hard surface it is also important to regularly clean with disinfectant door handles or railings which you and others might touch.
Avoid touching your mouth and nose with your hands or rubbing your eyes.
Swine flu spreads to people in two ways. They can acquire the virus after being in contact with infected pigs or areas where the pigs have been which is only likely to happen in Mexico or they can catch it from an infected person. The disease spreads in the same way as human flu when people inhale airborne particles from coughs and sneezes or by touching a contaminated surface and then touching their nose or mouth.
According to the CDC like seasonal flu symptoms of swine flu infections can include: fever which is usually high but unlike seasonal flu is sometimes absent cough runny nose or stuffy nose sore throat body aches headache chills fatigue or tiredness which can be extreme diarrhea and vomiting sometimes but more commonly seen than with seasonal flu Signs of a more serious swine flu infection might include pneumonia and respiratory failure.
Swine Flue Must be Reported
If you know anyone that has swine flu, you should report it. Depending on what country you live in, the government needs to know so they can track this rare but dangerous virus. In the US, find out how at swine flu facts. In other countries, contact your local government health organization, or ask your doctor. Swine flu must be reported, to prevent any further outbreaks, and to investigate where it came from.