Why Do Swine Flu Affects Humans?

The World Health Organization commonly known as WHO has raised an alert level worldwide for the swine flu virus – novel influenza (H1N1). More than 76 countries have reported cases of H1N1 infection and US alone has 43,771 infected people. Mexico was the first country to report cases.

Since the pandemic has surfaced, the H1N1 virus has continued to spread and the countries reporting the infection has doubled. USA has the maximum number of reported cases and the government declared a public health emergency on 26 April 2009 which was followed by active implementation of US pandemic implementation plan.

Swine Flu Why Do Swine Flu Affects Humans?

Why is the H1N1 virus affecting humans?

As the name suggests, swine flu is the disease that is infected with pigs. There are regular outbreaks in of swine flu in pigs around the world but human infections are rare. People who are in close contact with pigs sometimes get infected. This time the swine flu has changed and mutated enough to be able to infect humans. Although the flu that had spread widely from Mexico seems to have converged. The next one coming is already believed to be a mutant strain.

The new virus has proteins on its surface that are called hemagglutinin, they are thorn shaped proteins which enables the virus to cling to human cells. News strain of swine flu virus has been identified by Brazilian scientists known as A/Sao Paulo/1454/H1N1. This has shown more advanced mutations which allow it to infect new hosts.

Secondary attack rate

Secondary attack rate is the profitability of getting infected by coming in close contact with an individual who is already infected. The percentage of secondary attack rate for acute respiratory illness is 18-19 and for influenza like illness is 8-12.

If a person has two or more of the following symptoms like sore throat, cough, running nose and fever than he is suffering from acute respiratory illness (ARI). Usual antiviral medications can considerably reduce the risks of infection.

Most Vulnerable Age Groups

According to information collected from people in USA, people below 25 years of age are more prone to infection as compared to people who are above 65 years or older.

The highest number of cases among the people is reported in the age group of 5-25 years followed by infants of the age group of 0-4 years. Few cases have been reported in the age group of 25-49 years and above. The most likely cause for young people to get infected is because of their social lifestyles. Young people make the majority of the crowd at public gatherings and parties and these are the places from where they get exposed to virus.

People of any age group suffering from chronic medical conditions along with pregnant women are in the ‘high risk’ zone.

Symptoms of Novel H1N1 patients

Following symptoms have been found in swine flu patients.

Fever, cough, weakness/fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle pain, running nose, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, asthmatic breathing, dizziness, confusion, pain in chest or abdomen.

Medication

Most people are expected to recover without popping pills. However, its always recommended to avoid close contact with infected people to prevent the infection form spreading. Severely ill patients can be antiviral drugs. Oseltamivir and Zanamivir are the two drugs for treating swine flu patients and they are the best if administered within two days of getting ill.

Care should be taken not to prescribe or administer aspirin containing drugs to patients aged 18 years or more due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome. It is again a deadly disease that affects all major organs and causes hypoglycemia. Anti-pyretic drugs can be used to bring relief from fever.

Learn about the home remedies for the flu that are available.

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