All About Swine Flu (H1N1)
What is Swine Flu (H1N1)?
Influenza-A (H1N1) (earlier know as swine flu) is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. First detected in Mexico in April, 2009, it has spread to many countries in the World. Swine flu is basically a misnomer. This was originally referred to as "swine flu" because laboratory testing showed that many of the genes in this new virus were very similar to those found in pigs in North America. Further on, it has been found that this new virus has gene segments from the swine, avian and human flu virus genes. The scientists calls this a "quadruple reassortant" virus and hence this new (novel) virus is christened "influenza-A (H1N1) virus".
How do people become infected with influenza-A (H1N1)?
The new influenza A (H1N1) virus spreads from person-to-person, in the same way that seasonal influenza viruses spread. The main form of transmission is through the coughs or sneezes of an infected person. Infected droplets are released into the air and breathed in by others. However, these droplets do not remain in the air long and generally only affect people within two metres.
Like humans, pigs get the flu. Four different type A swine flu strains commonly circulate among pigs. Most recent swine flu viruses have belonged to the H1N1 and H3N2 subtypes. Pigs typically get sick but usually don't die from swine flu.
The new swine flu virus infecting humans is very unusual. It's somehow acquired genes from swine, bird, and human flu bugs. And it's also got genes from Eurasian swine flu viruses that aren't supposed to be in North America.
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.
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