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Diseases

Swine flu

Swine flu

Swine flu (swine influenza) is a respiratory disease caused by viruses (influenza viruses) that infect the respiratory tract of pigs and result in nasal secretions, cough, decreased appetite, and restless behavior.

Swine flu is an infection caused by a virus. Swine flu is a relatively new strain of influenza (flu) that was responsible for a flu pandemic during 2009-2010. It is sometimes also known as H1N1 influenza because it is the H1N1 strain of virus.
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 swine flu virus is generally seen during the winter. It has therefore been included in the 2012-13 seasonal flu vaccine.

Swine Flu-Symptoms,Diagnosis and Cure

Symptoms

Swine flu has an incubation period of 1-4 days. Its symptoms are similar to influenza (flu) like symptoms. These include:

• Fever
• Unusual tiredness
• Headache
• Running nose
• Sore throat
• Shortness of breath or cough
• Loss of appetite
• Aching muscles
• Diarrhea or vomiting

Causes

The cause of swine flu is an influenza A virus designated as H1N1. It has this designation or name because of the two major antigens (H and N) detectable on its surface by immunological techniques (H or hemagglutinin and N or neuraminidase).

Swine flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

Diagnosis

Swine flu can be diagnosed clinically by the patient's history and their symptoms.

Swab test:
A quick test (for example, nasopharyngeal swab sample) is done to see if the patient is infected with influenza A or B virus. However, accuracy of these tests is still a question.

Treatments

Two antiviral agents have been reported to help prevent or reduce the effects of swine flu. They are zanamivir (Relenza) and oseltamivir (Tamiflu), both of which are also used to prevent or reduce influenza A and B symptoms.

These drugs should not be used indiscriminately, because viral resistance to them can and has occurred. Also, they are not recommended if the flu symptoms already have been present for 48 hours or more, although hospitalized patients may still be treated past the 48-hour guideline.

Preventions

The most effective way to prevent the spread of infections, such as flu, is to practice good hygiene.

The best treatment for influenza infections in humans is prevention by vaccination. This vaccine can be used in all ages from 6 months to the elderly, including pregnant females. There are 2 vaccine: injectable that kills H1N1 and nasal spray vaccine for healthy individuals. Both of these vaccines were approved by the CDC only after they had conducted clinical trials to prove that the vaccines were safe and effective.

References:
www.nhs.uk (link is external)
http://mohfw-h1n1.nic.in/ (link is external)
www.who.int (link is external)
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/ (link is external)