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Swine Flu - What is It?

Swine Flu - What is It?

"Swine flu is an infection that is common to pigs. It is a respiratory disease that is caused by an A type influenza virus. This virus directly affects the pig's respiratory tract that causes cough, decreased appetite, nasal secretion and listless behaviors.

The swine influenza virus is categorized into two subtypes according to two viral surface antigens, hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N). There are four main subtypes of influenza A virus present to pigs. These are the H3N1, H3N2, H1N2, and H1N1. It is the H3N2 and H1N1 however that has been isolated to pigs more recently.

These are the H3N1, H3N2, H1N2, and H1N1. It is the H3N2 and H1N1 however that has been isolated to pigs more recently
Swine Flu

Though this type of virus normally affects the pigs, there also have been reports of human being infected by the swine flu virus. These cases normally occur to humans that are in constant exposure to pigs (farmers and veterinarians etc).

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However, it can easily be transmitted from infected person to other person. Pig likewise has been infected by human flu virus. Transmission of virus from pig to humans is not common and does not necessarily result to human flu. However, transmission leading to human flu is called zoonotic.

H1N1 flu is a product of the contamination of genetic element from two other variants of influenza type A virus which are swine flu (pigs) and avian flu (birds).

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Most of the common symptoms and effects are vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. It could affect anyone at any age and is transmitted and spread through saliva and any other respiratory secretions.

The most known H1N1 flu outbreak probably was that of the soldiers in New Jersey in 1976. The virus infected 4 soldiers in which one death has been reported.

They were diagnosed to have the disease with pneumonia. The virus circulated and spread over the city for a month.

The source of the virus has not been exactly determined though the introduction of the virus to the stressed human population may have been part of the reason.

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The 2009 outbreak, which was first seen in Mexico, is believed to be the result of the cross-species situation (human flu infection to swine and swine flu infection to humans).

It was termed H1N1 flu since it was infecting humans and exhibits two antigens H1 (hemagglutinin) N1 (neuraminidase).

Swine flu can be controlled through vaccines. There are vaccines available for pigs to prevent swine flu virus from spreading. There is no available vaccine though for humans.

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However, there are preventive measures that one can take to protect himself from the horrible effects of swine flu.

Some of these involve: avoiding persons who are infected and by wearing masks, maintaining a good hygiene (proper and constant hand washing), and maintaining a good and healthy lifestyle (exercise, getting enough sleep, avoiding unnecessary vices like smoking etc.)"

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