Overview On Swine Flu

Like people, pigs can get influenza (flu), but swine flu viruses aren’t the same as human flu viruses. Swine flu doesn’t often infect people, and the rare human cases that have occurred in the past have mainly affected people who had direct contact with pigs. But the current “swine flu” outbreak is different. It’s caused by a new swine flu virus that has changed in ways that allow it to spread from person to person — and it’s happening among people who haven’t had any contact with pigs. That makes it a human flu virus. In an effort to avoid confusion, the CDC is calling the virus “novel influenza A (H1N1) virus” to distinguish it both from flu viruses that infect mainly pigs and from the seasonal influenza A H1N1 viruses that have been in circulation for many years.Like people, pigs can get influenza (flu), but swine flu viruses aren’t the same as human flu viruses. Swine flu doesn’t often infect people, and the rare human cases that have occurred in the past have mainly affected people who had direct contact with pigs. But the current “swine flu” outbreak is different.

It’s caused by a new swine flu virus that has changed in ways that allow it to spread from person to person — and it’s happening among people who haven’t had any contact with pigs. That makes it a human flu virus. In an effort to avoid confusion, the CDC is calling the virus “novel influenza A (H1N1) virus” to distinguish it both from flu viruses that infect mainly pigs and from the seasonal influenza A H1N1 viruses that have been in circulation for many years.

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  • Swine Flu/Swine Influenza refers to influenza caused by any strain of the influenza virus endemic in pigs (swine)
  • Swine flu is common in swine and rare in humans
  • People who work with swine are at risk of getting swine influenza if the swine carries a virus strain capable to infect humans (zoonotic transmission)
  • The outbreak of swine flu is due to mutation of Swine Influenza Virus (SIV) into a form which can pass easily from human to human
  • Swine Flu is also known as H1N1 flu, hog flu, and pig flu


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