Swine flu is transmitted from person to person : Dr. Prem Aggarwal

  |    February 3rd, 2015   |   260

                       What is the swine flu?

Prem Aggarwal   Dr. Prem ggarwal 

Swine flu (swine influenza) is a respiratory disease caused by viruses (influenza viruses) that infect the respiratory tract of pigs, resulting in nasal secretions, a barking cough, decreased appetite, and listless behavior 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).
Swine flu is transmitted from person to person by inhalation or ingestion of droplets containing virus from people sneezing or coughing; it is not transmitted by eating cooked pork products.
There have been small outbreaks of H1N1 since the pandemic; a recent one is in India where at least three people have died.

What causes swine flu?
The cause of the 2009 swine flu was an influenza a virus type designated as H1N1. In 2011

What are the symptoms of swine flu?
Symptoms of swine flu are similar to most influenza infections: fever (100 F or greater), cough, nasal secretions, fatigue, and headache, with fatigue being reported in most infected individuals. Some patients may also get a sore throat, rash, body aches, headaches, chills, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
The symptoms last about one to two weeks and can last longer if the person has a severe infection.
How is swine flu diagnosed?
Swine flu is presumptively diagnosed clinically by the patient’s history of association with people known to have the disease and their symptoms listed above.
Swine flu is definitively diagnosed by identifying the particular antigens (surface proteins) associated with the virus type. In general, this test is done in a specialized laboratory and is not done by many doctors’ offices or hospital laboratories. However, doctors’ offices are able to send specimens to specialized laboratories if necessary. Because of the large number of novel H1N1 swine flu cases that occurred in the 2009-2010 flu season (the vast majority of flu cases [about 95%-99%] were due to novel H1N1 flu viruses), the CDC recommended only hospitalized patients’ flu virus strains be sent to reference labs to be identified. H3N2v flu strains and other flu virus strains are diagnosed by similar methods.

What is the treatment for swine flu?
The best treatment for influenza infections in humans is prevention by vaccination.
Two antiviral agents have been reported to help prevent or reduce the effects of swine flu. They are zanamivir (Relenza) and oseltamivir (Tamiflu), both of which are also used to prevent or reduce influenza A and B symptoms.
These drugs should not be used indiscriminately, because viral resistance to them can and has occurred. Also, they are not recommended if the flu symptoms already have been present for 48 hours or more, although hospitalized patients may still be treated past the 48-hour guideline. Severe infections in some patients may require additional supportive measures such as ventilation support and treatment of other infections like pneumonia that can occur in patients with a severe flu infection. The CDC has suggested in their guidelines that pregnant females can be treated with the two antiviral agents.
On Dec. 22, 2014, the FDA approved the first new anti-influenza drug (for H1N1 and other influenza virus types) in 15 years, peramivir injection (Rapivab settings:

What are the risk factors for swine flu?
Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at increased risk for severe complications from influenza or at higher risk for influenza-related doctor or hospital visits.
•    All children 6 months to 4 years (59 months) of age
•     people 50 years of age and older
•    Adults and children who have chronic pulmonary (including asthma) or cardiovascular (except isolated hypertension), renal, hepatic, neurological, hematologic, or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus)
•    People who have immune suppression (including immune suppression caused by medications or by HIV)
•    Women who are or will be pregnant during the influenza season
•    People who are morbidly obese (BMI ≥40)
•    Health-care professionals (doctors, nurses, health-care personnel treating patients)
•    contacts and caregivers of children under 5 years of age and adults 50 years of age and older, with particular emphasis on vaccinating contacts of children less than 6 months age
•    contacts and caregivers of people with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for severe complications from influenza

Can swine flu be prevented with vaccine?
IT IS recommends for the 2014-2015 flu season that everyone 6 months old and older should get a flu shot to prevent or reduce the chance of getting the flu. The best way to prevent novel H1N1 swine flu is vaccination. that a good way to prevent any flu disease is to avoid exposure to the virus;
this is done by frequent hand washing, not touching your hands to your face (especially the nose and mouth), and avoiding any close proximity to or touching any person who may have flu symptoms.
Since the virus can remain viable and infectious for about 48 hours on many surfaces, good hygiene and cleaning with soap and water or alcohol-based hand disinfectants are also recommended
The use of Tamiflu or Relenza may help prevent the flu if taken before symptoms develop or reduce symptoms if taken within about 48 hours after symptoms develop
Patients with high-risk factors should discuss flu symptoms and when to use antiviral medications; doctors should provide a prescription for the antiviral drug for the patient to use if the patient is exposed to flu or develops flu-like symptoms without having to go in to see the doctor.
•    “Watchful waiting” was added as a response to taking antiviral medications, with the emphasis on the fact that those people who develop fever and have a preexisting health condition should then begin the antiviral medication.
•    The antiviral medications are the first-line medicines for treatment of novel H1N1, H3N2, and H3N2v flu, and most cases are to date susceptible to Tamiflu and Relenza.
In general, preventive measures to prevent the spread of flu are often undertaken by those people who have symptoms.
Symptomatic people should stay at home, avoid crowds, and take off from work or school until the disease is no longer transmittable (about two to three weeks) or until medical help and advice is sought. Sneezing, coughing, and nasal secretions need to be kept away from other people; simply using tissues and disposing of them will help others.
Yet there are still some other methods available to individuals. Perhaps the best way for individuals to try to prevent flu virus infection is a combination of methods that are aimed at fulfilling the very basic principle that if the virus doesn’t reach an individual’s mucus membrane cells, infection will be prevented. The methods are as follows:
•    Kill or inactivate the virus before it reaches a human cell by using soap and water to clean your hands; washing clothing and taking a shower will do the same for the rest of your body.
•    Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available, and use sanitizers on objects that many people may touch (for example, doorknobs, computer keyboards, handrails, phones), although some researchers suggest that such sanitizers are generally ineffective.
•    Do not touch your mouth, eyes, nose, unless you first do items 1 or 2 above.
•    Avoid crowds, parties, and especially people who are coughing and sneezing (most virus-containing droplets do not travel more than 4 feet, so experts suggest 6 feet away is a good distance to stay). If you cannot avoid crowds (or parties), try to remain aware of people around you and use the 6-foot rule with anyone coughing or sneezing. Do not reach for or eat snacks out of canisters or other containers at parties.
•    Avoid touching anything within about 6 feet of an uncovered cough/sneeze, because the droplets that contain virus fall and land on anything usually within that range.
•    Studies show that individuals who wear surgical or N95 particle masks may prevent inhalation of some H1N1 virus, but the masks may prevent only about 50% of airborne exposures and offer no protection against surface droplets. However, masks on H1N1 infected people can markedly reduce the spread of infected droplets.
additional methods that may help reduce exposure to H1N1 virus.