Swine flue : few tips

Jan 23, 2010

Swine flu infection is the latest health threat that has caused panic through out the globe. Since it has already spread to almost every country it is better to face this disease with a little bit of boldness and scientific approach.

Few facts are

1) Swine influenza is known to be caused by influenza A subtypes H1N1, H1N2, H2N3, H3N1, and H3N2. In pigs, three influenza A virus subtypes (H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2) are the most common strains worldwide.(also called Pig influenza, swine flu, hog flu and pig flu)

2)It is not as deadly as it is said to be.

3)More than 90 % infections are as harmless as a common cold.

4)People with regular exposure to pigs are at increased risk of swine flu infection.

5)The 1918 flu pandemic in humans was associated with H1N1 and influenza appearing in pigs.

6)Death is mostly due to severe ARDS and because of lack of timely and appropriate supportive treatment . Occurs in less than 3% of cases.

Domestic articles -- need sanitation very regularly. Simple detergents including Dettol kills Swine flu virus (in more than 99 % cases).

In all, 50 cases are known to have occurred since the first report in medical literature in 1958, which have resulted in a total of six deaths. Of these six people, one was pregnant, one had leukemia, one had Hodgkin disease and two were known to be previously healthy.

Diagnosis

Thermal scanning of passengers arriving at Singapore Changi airport.The CDC recommends real time RT-PCR as the method of choice for diagnosing H1N1. This method allows a specific diagnosis of novel influenza (H1N1) as opposed to seasonal influenza. Near-patient point of care tests are in development.

Prevention

Prevention of swine influenza has three components: prevention in swine, prevention of transmission to humans, and prevention of its spread among humans. Prevention of human to human transmission Influenza spreads between humans through coughing or sneezing and people touching something with the virus on it and then touching their own nose or mouth.

Swine flu cannot be spread by pork products, since the virus is not transmitted through food.

The swine flu in humans is most contagious during the first five days of the illness although some people, most commonly children, can remain contagious for up to ten days.

Diagnosis can be made by sending a specimen, collected during the first five days for analysis.

Treatment in humans

If a person becomes sick with swine flu, antiviral drugs can make the illness milder and make the patient feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms). Beside antivirals, supportive care at home or in hospital, focuses on controlling fevers, relieving pain and maintaining fluid balance, as well as identifying and treating any secondary infections or other medical problems. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of Tamiflu (oseltamivir) or Relenza (zanamivir) for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses; however, the majority of people infected with the virus make a full recovery without requiring medical attention or antiviral drugs. The virus isolates in the 2009 outbreak have been found resistant to amantadine and rimantadine.