Swine influenza (also known as swine flu, hog flu, and pig flu) is a respiratory infection of pigs caused by types ‘A’ influenza viruses (H1N1 subtype) which is responsible regular outbreaks in pigs. Normally people do not get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen 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.
<u>Sign & Symptoms:</u>
The symptoms of swine flu are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and may include:
- Sore throat
- Fever (greater than 100° F or 37.8° C)
- Stuffy nose
- Chills Headache and body aches
To determine swine flu, nasopharyngeal (or back of the throat) swab for viral culture, the gold standard, and the indirect evidence test by detection of antibodies to novel H1N1 with PCR studies are done.
<u>How does swine flu spread?</u>
Normally swine flu viruses do not infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with swine flu have occurred. Most commonly, it occurs in persons with direct exposure to pigs (e.g. children near pigs at a fair or workers in the swine industry). In addition, infected person can spread swine flu to others. Virus spreads from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
- Always maintain high levels of personal hygiene, especially before and after food preparation and in-out of toilets. Regular wash your hands.
- Avoid live animal markets, poultry and pig farms in affected countries.
- Cook pork thoroughly. (It’s better not to eat)
- Seek immediate medical attention if you develop influenza-like symptoms.