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WHO (World Health Organization) has issued alerts against the developing situation regarding the outbreak of swine flu A(H1N1).
This awareness presentation provides a brief snapshot of the alert, symptoms of infection, preventive measures, travel tips and the need for exercising caution, considering the existing global scenario.
Swine influenza, or “swine flu”, is a highly contagious acute respiratory disease of pigs, caused by one of several swine influenza A viruses.
The virus is spread among pigs by aerosols, direct and indirect contact, and asymptomatic carrier pigs. Outbreaks in pigs occur year round, with an increased incidence in the fall and winter in temperate zones.
Many countries routinely vaccinate swine populations against swine influenza.
Swine influenza viruses are most commonly of the H1N1 subtype, but other subtypes are also circulating in pigs (e.g., H1N2, H3N1, H3N2).
Pigs can also be infected with avian influenza viruses and human seasonal influenza viruses as well as swine influenza viruses.
The H3N2 swine virus was thought to have been originally introduced into pigs by humans. Sometimes pigs can be infected with more than one virus type at a time, which can allow the genes from these viruses to mix.
This can result in an influenza virus containing genes from a number of sources, called a "reassortant" virus. Although swine influenza viruses are normally species specific and only infect pigs, they do sometimes cross the species barrier to cause disease in humans.
The name ‘swine flu’ is a slight misnomer as it is believed pigs acted as a mixing pot for several flu strains, containing genetic material from pigs, birds and humans.
Most humans have never been exposed to some of the antigens involved in the new strain of flu, giving it the potential to cause a pandemic.
How Swine Flu outbreak emerged?...Contd. The new virus has made the jump from pigs to humans and has demonstrated it can also pass from human to human. This is why it is demanding so much attention from health authorities. The virus passes from human to human like other types of flu, either through coughing, sneezing, or by touching infected surfaces, although little is known about how the virus acts on humans.
Swine flu – Phases Pandemic Phases & its risk levels Phase Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4 Phase 5 Phase 6 Phase description Inter-pandemic phase New virus in animals, no human cases Pandemic alert Pandemic New virus caused no human cases Risk level Low risk of Human cases Higher risk of human cases No or very limited human-to-human transmission Evidence of increased human-to-human transmission Evidence of significant human-to-human transmission Efficient and sustained human-to-human transmission
Human Infection…How it can happen? What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people? The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions. How does Swine flu spread? People usually get swine influenza from infected pigs, however, some human cases lack contact history with pigs or environments where pigs have been located. Spread of this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
Symptom Cold Swine Flu Fever Fever is rare with a cold. Fever is usually present with the flu in up to 80% of all flu cases. A temperature of 100°F or higher for 3 to 4 days is associated with the flu. Coughing A hacking, productive (mucus- producing) cough is often present with a cold. A non-productive (non-mucus producing) cough is usually present with the flu (sometimes referred to as dry cough). Aches Slight body aches and pains can be part of a cold. Severe aches and pains are common with the flu. Stuffy Nose Stuffy nose is commonly present with a cold and typically resolves spontaneously within a week. Stuffy nose is not commonly present with the flu. Chills Chills are uncommon with a cold. 60% of people who have the flu experience chills.
Symptom Cold Swine Flu Tiredness Tiredness is fairly mild with a cold. Tiredness is moderate to severe with the flu. Sneezing Sneezing is commonly present with a cold. Sneezing is not common with the flu. Sudden Symptoms Cold symptoms tend to develop over a few days. The flu has a rapid onset within 3-6 hours. The flu hits hard and includes sudden symptoms like high fever, aches and pains. Headache A headache is fairly uncommon with a cold. A headache is very common with the flu, present in 80% of flu cases. Sore Throat Sore throat is commonly present with a cold. Sore throat is not commonly present with the flu. Chest Discomfort Chest discomfort is mild to moderate with a cold. Chest discomfort is often severe with the flu.
Wash your hands frequently: Use the antibacterial soaps to cleanse your hands. Wash them often, at least 15 seconds and rinse with running water.
Get enough sleep: Try to get 8 hours of good sleep every night to keep your immune system in top flu-fighting shape.
Keep hydrated: Drink 8 to10 glasses of water each day to flush toxins from your system and maintain good moisture and mucous production in your sinuses.
Boost your immune system: Keeping your body strong, nourished, and ready to fight infection is important in flu prevention. So stick with whole grains, colorful vegetables, and vitamin-rich fruits.
Keep informed: The government is taking necessary steps to prevent the pandemic and periodically release guidelines to keep the pandemic away. Please make sure to keep up to date on the information and act in a calm manner.
Avoid alcohol: Apart from being a mood depressant, alcohol is an immune suppressant that can actually decrease your resistance to viral infections like swine flu. So stay away from alcoholic drinks so that your immune system may be strong.
Be physically active: Moderate exercise can support the immune system by increasing circulation and oxygenating the body. For example brisk walking for 30-40 minutes 3-4 times a week will significantly perk up your immunity.
Keep away from sick people: Flu virus spreads when particles dispersed into the air through a cough or sneeze reach someone else’s nose. So if you have to be around someone who is sick, try to stay a few feet away from them and especially, avoid physical contact.
Know when to get help: Consult your doctor if you have a cough and fever and follow their instructions, including taking medicine as prescribed.
Avoid crowded areas: Try to avoid unnecessary trips outside. Moreover, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
Employees are advised to carefully consider their need to travel to affected areas at this time. They should consider relocating meetings to unaffected locations or alternative working practices such as video-conferencing.
Employees considering travel to affected areas should be aware that if the virus continues to spread, restrictions on movement may be imposed with little or no notice.
International airports are currently operating normally, though travelers are being screened for symptoms of the virus. Employees should allow additional time for transiting through airports throughout the region because of screening procedures.
Travelers should ensure that their medical insurance is up-to-date and that they know how to activate it. Employees should know where to seek medical assistance during their trip.
Employees should obtain preventative health advice and regular updates from the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Monitor your health. If you develop symptoms such as fever, cough, headache and muscle pain, seek medical attention