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H1N1 Virus / Swine Flu – Discuss

What is Swine flu?
Swine flu which is also called as pig influenza, hog influenza, pig flu , swine flu is an infection caused by many types of influenza viruses. It is the family of viruses which is endemic in pigs. It includes viruses as influenza C and influenza A with their subtypes H1N1, H1N2, H2N1,H3N1, H3N2, H2N2

Swine influenza virus is common throughout pig population worldwide. Transmission of virus from pig to human is not common but if the transmission is caused then it is called as zoonotic swine flu. People with regular contact with pigs have a higher risk of this disease.

STRUCTUREThe structure of flu virus is somewhat spherical. It is an enveloped virus, the outer layer is a lipid membrane which is taken from the host cells in which the virus multiple. There are proteins inserted into the lipid membrane known as glycoprotein which determine the subtypes of flu virus.

Out of the three genera of virus, that causes human flu and flu in pigs is influenza A and influenza C is rare. Influenza B is not found yet.

Swine flu was first disease related to human flu in 1918 pandemic flu when the pigs became ill at the same time humans too. In the year 1930, the first influenza virus was identified in pigs. Outbreak in 1918 estimated that 50 to 100 million people were killed worldwide.

In 2015 the death report cases are very high. The states reporting for highest number of deaths are Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telengana, Delhi.
The sudden spurt of cases in the beginning of 2015 left the government unexplained but concerned.

Transmission occurs through direct contact between infected and uninfected animal. Close contacts are common during animal transport. Transferred in pigs due to touching nose or dried mucous. Also through air travel by coughing and sneezing of pigs. Also between the farms were they are close to each other and as the virus spreads within no time.

Transmission to human beings is caused with the people who are working in poultry and are at a higher rate of exposure to zoonotic infection. The vet, meat workers and also the farmer workers are at a risk of getting infected.

Person may complain of

  1. Fever
  2. Cough
  3. Sore throat
  4. Body aches
  5. Head ache
  6. Chills
  7. Fatigue
  8. Vomiting
  9. Decreased appetite

Thermal scanning also known as infrared thermograph is used to see one`s body environment, also allows to see the variation in temperature and detects any allergies, swine flu, breast scanning is also done.

The centre of disease prevention and care (CDC) suggests real time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) in which the nasal fluid is collected and RNA testing is done which detects the virus.

PREVENTIONPrevention is a wide aspect as prevention of swine by human beings and also spread of the disease should be taken care of. In swine the main goal should be for breed management, herd management, facility management and also the vaccination programs of the pigs which is very essential. Disinfectants should be sprayed around to lower the risk of spread of disease.
The main transmission from pig to human is in the farms. So for the farm workers and vet doctors face mask should be used while dealing with the infected animal. Also hand gloves are helpful as the hand to hand, hand to mouth, hand to nose transmission is prevented
Spread between human to human is mainly due to coughing and sneezing in public. Swine flu is not spread by pork products as viruses are not transmitted through food. Human are more contagious during five days of illness while in children it can be for 10 days
Infection spread is prevented through washing your hands, using alcohol based hand sanitizer in public, using disinfectants in your house

TREATMENT Treatment in pigs is that vet care should be taken regular vaccination and animal management techniques, proper treatment should be given when the animal is ill. Specially farm management and herd management is useful
In human, antiviral drugs should be given in order to make the patient feel better. The CDC has recommended the use of Oseltamivir(Tami flu) and Zanamivir(Relenza) drugs for the treatment and prevention of swine flu.
After all as it is said,"A healthy body leads to a healthy life"

Purnima Surve