- Swine flu is a respiratory disease caused by the influenza viruses that infect the respiratory tract of pigs, the virus can be transmitted to humans.
- Swine flu viruses may mutate (change) so that they are easily transmissible among humans.
- Swine influenza is known to be caused by influenza A subtypes H1N1, H1N2, H2N3, H3N1, and H3N2.
- Investigators decided the 2009 so-called “swine flu” strain, first seen in Mexico, should be termed novel H1N1 flu since it was mainly found infecting people and exhibits two main surface antigens, H1 (hemagglutinin type 1) and N1 (neuraminidase type1). The present flu virus in India is A(H1N1)2009 virus. This indicates that it is a Type A virus with H1 and N1 proteins in combination.
- The World Health Organization declared the infection a global pandemic in August 2010
- Type A may infect multiple species- Humans, pigs, birds (seasonal flu/epidemics/ pandemics)
- Type B only infects humans (seasonal flu/epidemics)
- Type C may infect humans and pigs (mild respiratory symptoms)
- Frequent Hand Washing
- Covering mouth and nose with tissue paper when coughing/ sneezing
- Avoiding crowded places and those with symptoms of influenza
- Avoiding contact greetings- hugs/ embraces/ kisses/ hand shakes, etc.
- Those with symptoms suggestive of influenza should visit a health care facility at the earliest for early diagnosis and treatment.
- Patients should be provided with three-layered surgical mask in hospitals.
- Not recommended for general public at present.
- Recommended only for Health care workers working in close proximity to influenza patients:
- Those working in the ED/ICU/Isolation wards of hospitals treating influenza cases
- Those identified for working in screening centres for categorization of patients