Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. Swine flu viruses cause high levels of illness and low death rates in pigs. Swine influenza viruses may circulate among swine throughout the year, but most outbreaks occur during the late fall and winter months similar to outbreaks in humans. The classical swine flu virus (an influenza type A H1N1 virus) was first isolated from a pig in 1930. –www.cdc.gov
As of Wednesday, April 29, 2009, the CDC has confirmed 91 laboratory cases of swine influenza in the U.S. States affected are:
New York – 51, Texas – 16 (1 death), California – 14, Michigan – 2, Kansas – 2, Massachusetts - 2, Ohio – 1, Nevada - 1, Indiana - 1, and Arizona - 1
The prevention and control of this outbreak is a shared responsibility.
Influenza kills every year, so why is this strain of flu different?
Every year the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization tries to figure out what kind of flu strains will affect people in the fall and then the vaccine manufacturers’ ramp up vaccine production over the summer. However, this is different because this has never been seen before in human beings, it has jumped species and what we are looking at now, is a virus that contains something from pig, something from bird and something from human; so it is new. This means we have no natural immunity to it. The concern is that we have nothing in the vaccine pile for it and that is what has caused so much concern. However, anti-virals such as Tamiflu, what we know as a treatment to influenza is being prescribed and is helping lessen the symptoms and shorten the duration of this virus. At this time, CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses.
The CDC assures us that the swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products are safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.
Symptoms of Swine influenza
• Fever (102.0 or higher) • Headache • Aches and pains • Chills • Painful cough • Sore Throat • Diarrhea • Vomiting
What You Can Do to Stay Healthy
There are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Cough or sneeze into the sleeve of your elbow.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
• If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. (www.cdc.gov)
Authorities don’t know how fast this is evolving, however our government officials have been very cautious and are assuring citizens that they are in front of this situation but they do expect more cases. For up to date information, visit www.cdc.gov.
What we also know, is that influenza has a 24-48 hour incubation period, so if you think you may have been exposed to this virus, contact your Doctor by phone immediately. It is important if you are having any flu-like symptoms, to call your Doctor ahead of time before going in. This is one way as citizens to our community that we can be proactive in the prevention of spreading this virus. Also, it is recommended that anti-virals be taken within the first 24-48 hours of noticeable symptoms. World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control assure us that there are plenty of anti-virals available.
Again, the prevention and control of this outbreak is a shared responsibility.