What is Swine Flu,Influenza Virus Symptoms,Facts,Spread,Treatment and Vaccination

Hello readers, we hope our last article about Ebola in health slate enlightened and helped you. Now in this article, we shall know about Swine flu (caused by H1N1 Virus), specifically about Swine flu symptoms, precautions for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment or vaccination and most importantly causes of Swine Flu.

Swineflu_Treatment image

Swine flu protective gloves

This Virus also recently has outbreak in India too, especially in Hyderabad in Telangana state, GujaratMaharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and other popular states. At the time of writing this post (Feb 2015), 66 swine flu deaths were noted in Gujarat.That’s the effect of the epidemic swine flu like the most recent Ebola Virus.Therefore, it’s very important for everyone to have a basic knowledge about Swine flu disease. Well! So let’s get into it.

What is Swine Flu?

Swine flu is essentially a disease of swine(other name for a pig). Swine flu (swine influenza) is a respiratory disease, caused by a new strain of influenza virus, resulting in nasal secretions, a barking cough, decreased appetite, and listless behavior. And now this ‘Swine’ flu virus has got spread to humans.

Investigators decided in 2009 so-called “swine flu” strain, first seen in Mexico, should be termed novel H1N1 flu since it was mainly found infecting people and exhibits two main surface antigens, H1 (hemagglutinin type 1) and N1 (neuraminidase type1).

Swine Flu virus  image

Swine Flu virus

Swine influenza, also called Swine flu, is an infection caused by any one of several types of influenza viruses. Swine influenza virus (SIV) or swine-origin influenza virus (S-OIV) is any strain of the influenza family of viruses that is endemic in pigs and humans. As of 2009, the known SIV strains include influenza C and the subtypes of influenza known as H1N1, H1N2, H2N1, H3N1, H3N2, and H2N3.

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History of Swine Flu: Where is it From?

Swine influenza virus was first isolated from pigs in 1930 in the U.S. and recognized by pork producers and veterinarians to cause infections in pigs worldwide. Of these three types influenza A, B, C types, B type has not even be reported in pigs, whereas type C and A causes both human flu and swine flu. Influenza C caused only mild outbreaks in Japan, as it is a very unstable virus.

However, this Swine flu caused by Influenza A type is very stable, and so spread quickly and caused fear and confusion around the world. After its identification in 1930, for the following 60 years Swine flu were almost exclusively H1N1. Later in between 1997 and 2002, new strains of three different subtypes emerged as causes in North America. In 1997-1998 H3N2, strain emerged. Reassortment between H1N1 and H3N2 produced H1N2.

This caused many outbreaks in history. The large Outbreak in 1918 pandemic in human caused 50 to 100 million people death worldwide. Then starting from human flu outbreak in US, 1976, continuous outbreaks 1988 zoonosis in human, 1998 in US in Swine, 2007 Philippines in Swine and recently 2009 Northern Ireland in Human. This last 2009 started with new strain in Type A and so started spreading quickly all over the world. In August 2010 WHO (World Health Organization) declared the Swine flu pandemic officially over.

Symptoms and Signs of Swine Flu:

Symptoms of Swine Flu is like any other flu, as

  • High temperature

  • Cough

  • Fatigue

  • Vomiting sensation

  • Mild Headache

  • Sore throat

  • Body aches

  • Running nose

  • Diarrhea

Yeah! I know this seems to like symptoms of any other flu, but do not neglect. Well, my personal suggestion is, if you feel any flu-like symptoms, stay home, consult a doctor and get thoroughly diagnosed. Drink plenty of fluids and take rest.

Recently in India this Swine flu symptoms are densely seen in populated cities like Hyderabad in Telangana, Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, Mumbai in Maharashtra and Delhi.

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How Does Swine Flu Spread:

Well, certainly, this includes all normal ways of spreading of any flu like using patient’s clothes, through direct saliva or blood contact. Excluding those, here are the major ways

  • Person infected from human swine flu is contagious as long as they are showing symptoms and for up to three days from the start of antiviral treatment. Young children may be infectious for longer.

Swine flu virus spread image

Swine flu virus spread image

  • Person taking care for someone sick with human swine flu can be infected from inhaling infected sneeze or cough droplets. This is said as direct contact.

  • This swine flu virus can live for about two hours outside of the body. Infection can occur when a person touches a contaminated object (such as a dirty tissue) and then touches his or her own nose, eyes or mouth. This is said as indirect contact.

  • In some cases, human swine flu is asymptomatic, which means the infected person feels fine and has no symptoms. However, they can still infect other people.

A misconception exists that Swine flu spreads through eating pork, but WHO(World Health Organization) advised that this human swine flu be not evidenced to be transmitted through eating pork or any pork meat products.

So friends eating properly cooked pork and other pork products is always safe.

FAQ(Frequently Asked Questions) about Swine Flu Influenza Virus:


Q: I have cold and cough; do I have Swine flu?

A: That depends; if you fell, you have any flu-like symptoms, especially in this season it greatly recommended to consult doctor.

Q: How do they diagnose epidemic diseases like Ebola and swine flu?

A: Because these symptoms are not specific to swine flu, a differential diagnosis of probable swine flu requires not only symptoms, but also a clear confirmation with tests.

Usual diagnostic methods include:
  • Medical and travel history
  • Physical examination
  • Nose and throat swabs for laboratory analysis

However, a diagnosis is confirmed only after testing of respiratory sample.

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Swine Flu Vaccination and Treatment:

Swine flu prevention mask image

Swine flu prevention mask

Q: I have swine flu; what should I do?

A: If it is confirmed that a person have swine flu, antiviral drugs can make the illness milder and make the patient feel better faster and so can remove serious complications of swine flu. Besides, supportive care at home and/or at hospital can help in relieving pain and maintaining fluid balance. Mostly it is oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) antiviral drugs are given.

Q: I don’t have Swine flu; what precautions do I need to take?

A: As Swine flu easy to transmit, it is very necessary to follow these following precautions

  • While traveling in public place it is a must to wear a mask, in case of its absence at least a handkerchief can replace it, but only with more diligence.

  • Washing hands regularly is another good habit that can keep you away from diseases.

  • Particularly women, children need to be taken special care of, as they are more prone for the attack.

  • Health care workers, people with chronic health disorders such as asthma, lung disease, and cancer should be more careful.

Swine flu treatment image

Swine flu treatment image

However, as vaccination is already available, and government is providing it for free, with only service fee, it recommended for everyone to get vaccinated.

Epidemic diseases that spread rapidly like Ebola, Swine flu must be defended by the humankind to have healthy generations.

After all, as it is said Prevention is better than cure, take care, bye.

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