Swine Flu Information
What is swine flu?
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by Type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs.
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.
Is the current swine flu virus contagious?
Various international agencies (US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, World Health Organization) have determined that this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human.
WHO has escalated the world Pandemic Phase from Phase 3 to Phase 4 (in a 6-scale Phase), indicating that a worldwide pandemic due to swine flu H1N1 is possible.
What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?
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. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people.
Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
How does swine flu spread?
Spread of this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads.
Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza.
Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with live flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
How are human infections with swine influenza diagnosed?
To diagnose swine influenza A infection, a respiratory specimen would generally need to be collected within the first 4 to 5 days of illness (when an infected person is most likely to be shedding virus).
However, some persons, especially children, may shed virus for 10 days or longer.
Identification as a swine flu influenza A virus requires sending the specimen to a hospital laboratory for testing.
How can someone with the flu infect someone else?
Infected people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick.
That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.
How long can an infected person spread swine flu to others?
People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possible for up to 7 days following illness onset.
Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.
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