Some PIG and Some Virus. We have a level 4 epidemic but DO NOT PANIC! Here is some information from the CDC website. Click here for the latest information on travel. This is a developing story but there is no need to panic. Just do what I teach the kindergartners. Wash your hands and cover your mouth!
What is swine flu?
It is a respiratory illness, not a food borne illness. So it is OK to eat cooked pork.
Swine flu is a strain of Influenza that is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people. People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
Swine flu started in pigs and recently jumped to humans likely through someone who works with pigs. We are not sure why this happens but it can be of concern because humans have not built immunity to it. This year’s flu shot will NOT protect you against the swine flu.
The great news is that we have medicine to shorten the duration and severity of the illness. They are Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) and Relenza (zanamivir) and are most effective if started within 36 hours of symptoms.
What are the symptoms of swine flu in humans?
The symptoms of swine flu in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include FEVER >102 lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. BUT fever and muscle aches differentiate it from seasonal allergies.
How long is it transmittable?
The infectious period for a confirmed case of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection is defined as 1 day prior to the case’s illness onset to 7 days after onset. So if you went to Cancun on Spring break then you are in the clear.
How did it get to Ohio?
A 9 year old boy who lives in Northeast, Ohio recently returned from Mexico. He is being treated at home. The US infections have been very mild with few hospitalizations and no deaths.