2009 Swine flu outbreak prevention, treatment and symptoms

Swine influenza (also called swine flu, hog flu, and pig flu) refers to influenza caused by those strains of influenza virus, called swine influenza virus (SIV), that usually infect pigs.

As of 2009 these strains are all found in Influenza C virus and the subtypes of Influenza Swine or Swine influenza is common in pigs in the Midwestern United States (and occasionally in other states), Mexico, Canada, South America, Europe (including the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Italy), Kenya, Mainland China, Taiwan, Japan and other parts of eastern Asia.

Transmission of swine influenza virus from pigs to humans is not common and properly cooked pork poses no risk of infection. When transmitted, the virus does not always cause human influenza and often the only sign of infection is the presence of antibodies in the blood, detectable only by laboratory tests.

When transmission results in influenza in a human, it is called zoonotic swine flu. People who work with pigs, especially people with intense exposures, are at risk of catching it.

However, only about fifty such transmissions have been recorded since the mid-20th century, when identification of influenza subtypes became possible. Rarely, these strains can pass from human to human.

In humans, the symptoms are similar to those of influenza and of influenza-like illness in general, namely chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache, coughing, weakness and general discomfort.

The 2009 flu outbreak in humans, known as "swine flu", is due to a new strain of influenza A virus subtype H1N1 that contained genes most closely related to swine influenza.

The origin of this new strain is unknown. However, The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) reports that this strain has not been isolated in pigs. This strain can be transmitted from human to human, and causes the normal symptoms of influenza.

Pigs can become infected with human influenza, and this appears to have happened during the 1918 flu pandemic and the 2009 flu outbreak.

Prevention and treatment

Recommendations to prevent infection by the virus consist of the standard personal precautions against influenza. This includes frequent washing of hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizers,


There is so far little data available on the risk of airborne transmission of this particular virus. Mexican authorities are distributing surgical masks to the general public.

Pork Products

Although some pigs in Canada were recently found to be infected with the new strain of H1N1, the leading international health agencies have stressed that the "influenza viruses are not known to be transmissible to people through eating processed pork or other food products derived from pigs."

Antiviral drugs

On April 27, the CDC recommended the use of Tamiflu and Relenza for both treatment and prevention of the new strain. Roche Applied Science and the U.S. government had already extended the shelf life of federally stockpiled Tamiflu from the original five years to seven years because studies indicated that the medication continues to maintain its effectiveness.

Medical experts are also concerned that people "racing to grab up antiviral drugs just to feel safe" may eventually lead to the virus developing drug resistance. Partly as a result, experts suggest the medications should be reserved for only the very ill or people with severe immune deficiencies.

Swine Flu Symptoms

According to the CDC, like seasonal flu, symptoms of infections can include:

  1. fever, which is usually high
  2. cough
  3. runny nose or stuffy nose
  4. sore throat
  5. body aches
  6. headache
  7. chills
  8. fatigue or tiredness, which can be extreme
  9. diarrhea and vomiting (sometimes)
  10. Signs more serious infection might include pneumonia and respiratory failure.

    If your child has symptoms , you should avoid other people and call your pediatrician who might do a rapid flu test to see if he has an influenza A infection. Further testing can then be done to see if it is a flu infection. (Samples are being sent to local and state health departments and the CDC for confirmation of swine flu.)

    Serious Swine Flu Symptoms

      More serious symptoms that would indicate that a child would need urgent medical attention include:

    1. Fast breathing or trouble breathing
    2. Bluish or gray skin color
    3. Not drinking enough fluids
    4. Severe or persistent vomiting
    5. Not waking up or not interacting
    6. Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
    7. Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

    Swine Flu Symptoms vs. a Cold or Sinus Infection

      It is important to keep in mind most children with a runny nose or cough will not have swine flu and will not have to see their pediatrician for swine flu testing.

      This time of year, many other childhood conditions are common, including:

    1. spring allergies - runny nose, congestion, and cough
    2. common cold - runny nose, cough, and low grade fever
    3. sinus infections - lingering runny nose, cough, and fever
    4. strep throat - sore throat, fever, and a positive strep test

    What You Need To Know

    1. This flu likely spreads by direct contact with respiratory secretions of someone that is sick with swine flu, like if they were coughing and sneezing close to you.
    2. People with swine flu are likely contagious for one day before and up to seven days after they began to get sick with swine flu symptoms.
    3. Droplets from a cough or sneeze can also contaminate surfaces, such as a doorknob, drinking glass, or kitchen counter, although these germs likely don't survive for more than a few hours.
    4. Anti-flu medications, including Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir), are available to prevent and treat swine flu.
    5. The latest swine flu news from the CDC includes advice that students should stay home if they have swine flu symptoms, but schools do not need to close unless they have large clusters of cases that are affecting school functioning. Schools that closed based on previous recommendations, such as if they had a single confirmed case or probable case, can now likely reopen.


    Accessed April 2009. Swine Influenza and You

    Click on the link below and make sure you read "Does the Vaccine Matter?" all 3 pages. The pages are long and well worth reading.

    Flu Shot Permanently Disables Washington Redskins cheerleader Desiree Jennings THIS YEARS FLU SHOT (10 days AFTER vaccination)

    World Health Organisation ‘Mr Swine Flu’ Under Investigation for Gross Conflict of Interest

    Your other choices.... Strength Your Immune System"

    Poor nutrition and stress are but two primary factors that affect the immune performance of healthy people. Regardless of effort, healthy people make compromises in diet and experience stress in their lives, which reduce their immune function in a manner that produces less than- optimum protection.

    Within our bodies exists an amazing mechanism called "The Immune System" developed to constantly defend us against the millions of bacteria, microbes, viruses, toxins and parasites that would overtake us without such protection.

    The immune system consists of a body-wide network of cells and organs that defends us against attacks from these foreign invaders. It provides an amazing constellation of responses that can adapt to optimize the response to unwanted intruders.

    While there is a high degree of inter connectivity between its components, the immune system can be loosely divided into two subsystems, the innate and the adaptive immune systems. Both systems work together to provide protection to keep us healthy.

    The innate immune system provides a non-specific response to pathogens with immediate but short-lived action.

    The adaptive immune system is much more specific, but takes longer to activate. The adaptive immune system also features immunological memory, and can respond more quickly and with greater specificity to similar threats in the future.

    Prolonged stress and poor nutrition have been shown in countless studies to suppress immune system function. This suppressive effect is recognized by scientific consensus. Unfortunately, each of these factors are a part of our normal lives and for all practical purposes not avoidable.

    The goal of the immune system is to maintain stasis, neither overstimulated (as in allergies or autoimmune conditions) nor suppressed (seen in infectious disease).

    It does so through a complex network of organs and cells—including the white blood cells (leukocytes), lymph nodes, spleen and thymus gland—via two types of immune response. in conclusion effective immune system function is generally recognized as fundamental to the maintenance of good health.

    When an otherwise healthy immune system is subjected to daily challenges such as stress and poor nutrition, optimal function may be difficult to maintain. Accordingly, a strategy to support immune system function in the context of maintaining good health is important. Strength Your Immune System" and you will be well protected. Click here to know more about your Immune System

    Important Message

    – May 1, 2009 –We understands consumer interest in protecting against the H1N1 flu virus (“swine flu”). Please be advised that there is no scientific data supporting the use of any food or dietary supplement to treat or prevent any disease, including swine flu that we recommend, in this web site . Furthermore, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission issued advisories to not take products that are promoted for swine flu prevention and treatment.

    Consumers who believe they may have swine flu or come in contact with the virus should contact a health care provider. For more information about swine flu, please visit FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web sites.

    Return to Information on a Healthy Diet page from
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