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additional information regarding SWINE FLU VIRUS

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additional information regarding SWINE FLU VIRUS

Post by rubiah on Mon May 04, 2009 2:55 pm

The recent outbreak of a new strain of H1N1 influenza among people in North America has heightened awareness of this type of influenza commonly called "swine flu," and has raised fears of an 2009 H1N1 flu epidemic or even a pandemic. These questions and answers are based on what is currently known about the virus, and will be updated as we get new information.

Q:What is swine flu?

A:Swine flu is a respiratory disease caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. The "classical" swine flu virus (an influenza type A H1N1 virus) was first isolated from a pig in 1930. Swine flu viruses cause illness in pigs, but the death rates are low. This new virus, although it is being called "swine flu," is not the same virus.

Q:How does this virus differ from bird flu?

A:The 2009 H1N1 flu virus is an entirely different virus than the bird flu you've been hearing about in the news. Among these differences is that humans infected with bird flu were infected by direct contact with sick birds, and this new virus is not spread by contact with animals. In addition, the highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza virus that causes the bird flu in the news has not been reported in North America.

Q:Did this flu come from pigs? Can I catch it from pigs?

A:Although this new influenza was originally labeled as a "swine flu," it is being spread from person to person, not from pigs to people. None of the U.S. cases had contact with pigs. In addition, no U.S. pigs have been found to be infected with this flu strain.

At this time, we don't know exactly where the virus came from. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are investigating the cases.

Q:What is known about the 2009 H1N1 virus?

A:This new virus was first reported in late March/early April in central Mexico and the border states of California and Texas. Experts predict that the virus has the potential to spread worldwide, and has been reported in other countries outside North America.

The symptoms are very similar to human respiratory flu, with possible additional gastrointestinal side effects such as vomiting, stomach ache and diarrhea. In the United States, the cases so far have had self-limiting flu-like symptoms—just as with the "normal" seasonal flu, they are ill for a few days and then recover. In severe cases, pneumonia can develop.

The information is rapidly changing because this is an emerging situation. For up-to-date information, the CDC's swine influenza site is a good resource.

Q:How did the new virus develop? Where did it come from?

A:In general, influenza viruses commonly stick to one species when it comes to infection; for example, dogs and cats don't get seasonal flu from their owners. However, under the right conditions, influenza viruses from different species are capable of mixing and swapping DNA (this is called reassortment), resulting in a new virus. Swine flu can merge with other influenza viruses, such as avian or human flu, to produce new strains. The 2009 H1N1 flu virus consists of North American swine influenza viruses, North American avian influenza viruses, human influenza viruses and swine influenza viruses found in both Asia and Europe.

Q:Can my pet get the 2009 H1N1 virus?

A:To date, there is no evidence that pets are susceptible to this new strain of influenza; it appears to be transmitted solely from person to person.

Q:Can my pot-bellied pig get the 2009 H1N1 virus and give it to me?

A:Despite its being called "swine flu," this virus has not been found in pigs, so your pig is safe. However, pot-bellied pigs can become ill from a number of causes, and keeping your pig healthy and free of disease helps protect your pig as well as you. If you have a pet pig and it appears ill, consult a veterinarian immediately.

Q:There are feral pigs in my area. Can they spread the 2009 H1N1 virus?

A:Since this virus hasn't been found in pigs, feral pigs are not likely to catch or spread the disease. However, they can spread other diseases, and it is best to avoid contact with them—this goes for you and your animals. Feral pigs are best left to the proper authorities to handle, so contact your local animal control office if you need to report a feral pig problem.

Q:I keep hearing the words "pandemic" and "epidemic." What do they mean, and what is the difference?

A:An epidemic is a marked rise in disease in an area. This new virus is certainly causing an epidemic. This is not unusual for a new virus—because people have not been exposed to the virus before, their immune systems aren't ready to fight it off, and more people become ill. The SARS epidemic of 2003 is an example.

A pandemic is like an epidemic that's expanded to a larger area. In most cases, "pandemic" is used to describe a world-wide epidemic of disease. The 1918 Spanish flu and the Black Plague are extreme examples of pandemics. Keep in mind, though, that a pandemic doesn't necessarily mean millions of deaths—it means a widespread epidemic.

Q:Will this become a pandemic?

A:That remains to be seen. The appropriate responses are caution and increased awareness, not panic.

Q: How should I protect myself from getting the 2009 H1N1 virus?

A:Common sense is always the best guideline. According to the CDC, the following precautions should be taken at all times to promote good health:

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then dispose of the tissue—flu and cold germs are spread mainly by person-to-person contact and the coughing or sneezing of infected people.
Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, as these are the primary places germs can enter your body.
Have limited contact with people who are obviously sick.
If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others.
Q:Can I get the 2009 H1N1 virus from eating pork?

A:No. There are no reported cases of the 2009 H1N1 flu virus in people from eating pork. This new virus is not a food-borne disease. However, good food hygiene is always recommended to protect yourself and your family from disease.

As always, when consuming meat products safe food practices should be followed. You can consult the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Be Food Safe site at for tips on the cleaning, preparation and safe cooking temperatures for pork, as well as other meat and poultry products.

Q:I think I might be sick with the new virus, and I want to get a prescription for an antiviral. Can I get that from my veterinarian?

A:No. It is illegal for a veterinarian to prescribe medications for people. It is also unethical and illegal for a veterinarian to write a false prescription for a pet so the pet’s owner can obtain the medication for themselves.

Q:What if my pet needs an antiviral drug? Will my veterinarian be able to get the drugs?

A:This new H1N1 virus is spreading by human-to-human contact, and there is no evidence to date that it can infect animals. Keep in mind that pandemic planning, by necessity, must place a priority on treating infection in people—for that reason, antiviral medication supplies will be closely guarded and there may be strict guidelines in place that will determine how they are dispensed. Availability of antivirals may be low for non-pandemic response use. We encourage veterinarians to use their clinical judgment and weigh these factors when considering the necessity of an antiviral drug for a client’s pet. The use of antiviral medications in food animals is strictly regulated—and is prohibited in some species—and food supply veterinarians are already aware of these regulations.
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Re: additional information regarding SWINE FLU VIRUS

Post by candy on Sat Aug 01, 2009 10:32 am

thank you for sharing...God Bless.

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Re: additional information regarding SWINE FLU VIRUS

Post by aries ventura on Sat Aug 01, 2009 11:43 am

wow!nice information regarding swine flu virus,thanks a lot for sharing kabayan rubiah... Very Happy
aries ventura
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Re: additional information regarding SWINE FLU VIRUS

Post by chix2go on Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:19 pm

flu shot
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Re: additional information regarding SWINE FLU VIRUS

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