What Is Swine Flu
Swine influenza is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by a type A influenza viruses. Flu outbreaks in pigs are common, especially during winter months. (CDC Brochure). People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections have recently been happening. 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 (CDC).
What are the Symptoms of Swine Flu
The symptoms of swine flu in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
# of laboratory confirmed cases
|TOTAL COUNTS||109 cases||1 death|
|International Human Cases of Swine Flu Infection
See: World Health Organization
What medications are available to treat swine flu infections in humans?
There are four different antiviral drugs that are licensed for use in the US for the treatment of influenza: amantadine, rimantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir. While most swine influenza viruses have been susceptible to all four drugs, the most recent swine influenza viruses isolated from humans are resistant to amantadine and rimantadine. At this time, CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (relenza) for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses.
Is there a vaccine for swine flu?
Vaccines are available to be given to pigs to prevent swine influenza. There is no vaccine to protect humans from swine flu. The seasonal influenza vaccine will likely help provide partial protection against swine H3N2, but not swine H1N1 viruses.
What’s In A Name (Source)
Influenza A viruses are one of five types of flu viruses and cause the most severe disease in humans, although influenza B regularly causes outbreaks.
The A, B and C designations originally referred to type of antibody response from the body, but are now known also to be related to genetic differences in the capsid proteins of the different viruses. Studies of the genetic sequences of these viruses indicate that at some time they all had a common ancestor.
After A, B or C comes the sub-type, which is named for the broad classes of the hemagglutinin (HA) or neuraminidase (NA) surface proteins sticking through the viral envelope. There are 16 HA sub-types (designated H1 – H16) and 9 NA sub-types (designated N1 – N9).
Hemagglutinin and neuraminidase were the first aspects of the flu viruses to be identified, so early naming convention nomenclature was built around the two genes that code for them, since then more viral genes for making proteins have been identified. Because of this, the H and N nomenclature of naming has become a very incomplete description of the virus.
The H1N1 description of swine flu only describes two of the eight genes in the virus. It’s possible to have an H1N1 strain with six other genes from an avian flu virus, or an H1N1 with six other genes from a human-adapted or pig-adapted flu virus. Those six other genes could also be identical to the other six genes in a virus with a completely different naming system like H6N2. (Source)
Can I still eat pork?
Swine influenza has not been shown to be transmissible to people through eating properly handled and prepared pork (pig meat) or other products derived from pigs. The swine influenza virus is inactivated by cooking temperatures of 160oF/70oC corresponding to the general guidance for the preparation of pork and other meat.
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