H1N1 Flu (Influenza
Also called: Swine
Swine flu is a type of virus. It's named for a
virus that pigs can get. People do not normally get
swine flu, but human infections can and do happen.
The virus is contagious and can spread from human
to human. Symptoms of swine flu in people are
similar to the symptoms of
include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills
antiviral medicines you can take to prevent or treat swine flu.
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against
swine flu. You can help prevent the spread of germs that cause
respiratory illnesses like influenza by
Covering your nose
and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the
tissue in the trash after use it.
your hands often with soap and water, especially after you
cough or sneeze. You can also use alcohol-based hand
your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this
to avoid close contact with sick people.
home from work or school if you are sick.
( Science Base )
What is unusual about the present
The new strain is a hybrid of swine, human and avian flu
viruses and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) says it
spread from human to human but the level of virulence is not
yet clear. UPDATE: It is not proving to be particularly
virulent and outside the poverty zones of
Mexico City it is not demonstrating
lethality. Most people are recovering.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms are similar to regular human flu: fever and chills, a
cough, sore throat, aching limbs, headaches, and general
malaise. However, there are reports of swine flu also causing
diarrhoea and vomiting. Pneumonia and respiratory failure can
occur leading to death as also happens in regular human flu,
which kills thousands of people every year.
Are there any drugs to treat swine
Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) are the possible
pharmaceutical frontline defence and are proving effective in
treating patients diagnosed early enough. There is as yet no
vaccine. It takes several months to create a flu vaccine and
any such vaccine will be effective against only the specific
strain for which it was created. By the time we have a vaccine
the virus may have either died out (most likely) or evolved
into a different strain resistant to the
How can we prevent the spread of swine
People at risk should cover their mouth when they cough. They
should regularly wash their hands with an alcohol-based cleaner
and and avoid close contact with the sick. Patients with the
disease should stay at home. There is no need to avoid eating
Will there be a global flu epidemic?
“We do not know whether this swine flu virus or some other
influenza virus will lead to the next
says, Richard Besser,
acting director of the CDC, “However, scientists around the
world continue to monitor the virus and take its threat
seriously.” UPDATE: the WHO raised its alert level from Phase
IV to V, but we seem to be no closer to a full-blown pandemic
than we were at the beginning of this debacle.
Will there be a second wave?
One of two outcomes are being forecast, this rather poorly
virulent strain will continue spreading slowly but ultimately
die out, thanks to a combination of low virulence and
monitoring and isolation of outbreaks, or it will mutate into
something more nastier and bring with it a fast-spreading and
more lethal wave of influenza. Thankfully, in the Northern
hemisphere, we are heading into summer and influenza viruses do
not spread as efficiently in the summer as they do in the
winter. My hunch is that this H1N1 strain of swine flu will die
out and the media hype with it over the next two to three
It is impossible to predict what virus will emerge from which
host, there are countless different types of pathogen lying
dormant in the countless different mammals across the globe. No
one predicted SARS, AIDS, Ebola, West Nile virus, or swine flu.
This time, health agencies have responded well and although the
WHO is saying it is now impossible to “contain” swine flu, it
seems that the inflammatory headlines have died down and
millions are NOT going to die of this disease.
Is this a wake-up call?
At the very least this swine flu outbreak should wake us all up
to either getting the dust off our (bird flu) pandemic plans
(as the response is the same) or getting started with putting
them together. This includes both businesses and individuals.
If the outbreak dies out quickly and this turns out not to be
the next global pandemic then we can be sure another strain
will try to be at some point in the future.
Pandemic preparedness for
now be at the forefront of every business manager’s