Swine flu also known as swine influenza or Pandemic Influenza is a respiratory disease. It is caused by virus called H1N1 virus (introduced in 2009). This virus infects the wind pipe (respiratory tract) of pigs and later it gets transmitted to human beings. It results in nasal secretions, cough, decreased appetite, and restless behavior.
Swine flu was a relatively new strain of influenza virus (flu) that was responsible for a flu pandemic during 2009-2010. Swine flu viruses may mutate (change) so that they are easily transmissible among humans.
On 10 August 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the swine flu pandemic was officially over. However, this does not mean that swine flu has been completely eliminated. The H1N1 virus that caused the pandemic is now a regular flu virus and continues to circulate seasonally worldwide.
Swine flu has an incubation period (the time taken for the symptoms to appear) of 1-4 days. Its symptoms are similar to influenza (flu). These include:
Swine flu is caused by virus called H1N1 virus. This virus infects the wind pipe (respiratory tract) of pigs and later it gets transmitted to human beings. It results in nasal secretions, cough, decreased appetite, and restless behavior.
Swine flu can spread to others up to about 6 feet away. The flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouth or nose of people who are nearby, which can be possibly inhaled into the lungs. In some cases, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it.
Swine flu can be diagnosed clinically by the patient’s history and their symptoms. The diagnosis may further confirmed in the laboratory through a technique called RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction).
Two antiviral agents are helpful in preventing or reducing the effects of swine flu. They are zanamivir (Relenza) and oseltamivir (Tamiflu). Both are also used to prevent or reduce influenza A and B symptoms.
These drugs should not be used indiscriminately i.e. without the doctor’s prescription. Because it can lead to ineffectiveness of the drug due to viral resistance.
The most effective way to prevent the spread of infections is to practice good hygiene. Vaccination against influenza also has some role.
Tips for Prevention :