2. Swine flu is caused by a type-A influenza virus and is a respiratory disease. Pigs suffer from it throughout the year. The strain seen now has not been seen before and is a variation of the H1N1 virus, a combination of human and animal viruses. The virus mutates as it spreads among people, it becomes harder to treat or prevent because the virus mutates and humans do not have a natural immunity to it.
3. It is treatable with Tamiflu and Relenza, two flu drugs. Antiviral drugs are most effective when taken within two days of the onset of symptoms.
4. Symptoms are similar to those of the common flu and include fever, cough, lethargy, headache, body aches, sore throat, and chills. Some patients have reported diarrhea and vomiting. The concern is that further infection from the virus can lead to pneumonia, respiratory failure, and possibly death. There have been no fatalities reported in the United States.
5. If you are exhibiting symptoms and live in one of the states where cases have been confirmed or you recently traveled to Mexico, you should contact your doctor immediately for testing.
6. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said today that a concern is that it is not just affecting vulnerable populations, such as children and the elderly.
“We are concerned that in Mexico, most of those who died were young and healthy adults,” he said.
7. The CDC recommends that we all take common-sense precautions to ensure our health and safety, including avoiding close contact with people who are sick, covering your mouth and nose if you sneeze or cough, and washing your hands often. After some initial testing, the CDC does not believe that regular flu shots offer protection against the swine flu as well.