Swine Flu FAQ

Discussion in 'The Refreshment Lounge' started by Bro. Kurt P.M., Apr 29, 2009.

  1. Bro. Kurt P.M.

    Bro. Kurt P.M. 2018 14G DCO Premium Member

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    Information for you and your family.

    DSHS’s website contains the most current information for personal protection and is located at: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/swineflu/default.shtm.

    Below are some frequently asked questions.

    Swine Influenza and You

    What is swine flu?
    Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.

    Are there human infections with swine flu in the U.S. ?
    In late March and early April 2009, cases of human infection with swine influenza A (H1N1) viruses were first reported in Southern California and near San Antonio , Texas . Other U.S. states have reported cases of swine flu infection in humans and cases have been reported internationally as well. An updated case count of confirmed swine flu infections in the United States is kept at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/investigation.htmCDC and local and state health agencies are working together to investigate this situation.

    Is this swine flu virus contagious?
    CDC has determined that this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it is not known how easily the virus spreads between people.

    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. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

    How does swine flu spread?
    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.

    How can someone with the flu infect someone else?
    Infected people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

    What should I do to keep from getting the flu?
    First and most important: wash your hands. Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Try not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

    Are there medicines to treat swine flu?
    Yes. CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms).

    How long can an infected person spread swine flu to others?
    People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possible for up to 7 days following illness onset. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.

    What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination?
    Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.

    How long can viruses live outside the body?
    We know that some viruses and bacteria can live 2 hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks. Frequent handwashing will help you reduce the chance of getting contamination from these common surfaces.

    What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
    There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
    • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
    • If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

    What is the best way to keep from spreading the virus through coughing or sneezing?
    If you are sick, limit your contact with other people as much as possible. Do not go to work or school if ill. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Put your used tissue in the waste basket. Cover your cough or sneeze if you do not have a tissue. Then, clean your hands, and do so every time you cough or sneeze.

    What is the best technique for washing my hands to avoid getting the flu?
    Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Wash with soap and water. or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner. we recommend that when you wash your hands -- with soap and warm water -- that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. You can find them in most supermarkets and drugstores. If using gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn't need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.

    What should I do if I get sick?
    If you live in areas where swine influenza cases have been identified and become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, you may want to contact their health care provider, particularly if you are worried about your symptoms. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.
    If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.
    If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.
    In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
    • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
    • Bluish skin color
    • Not drinking enough fluids
    • Not waking up or not interacting
    • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
    • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
    • Fever with a rash

    In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
    • Sudden dizziness
    • Confusion
    • Severe or persistent vomiting

    How serious is swine flu infection?
    Like seasonal flu, swine flu in humans can vary in severity from mild to severe. Between 2005 until January 2009, 12 human cases of swine flu were detected in the U.S. with no deaths occurring. However, swine flu infection can be serious. In September 1988, a previously healthy 32-year-old pregnant woman in Wisconsin was hospitalized for pneumonia after being infected with swine flu and died 8 days later. A swine flu outbreak in Fort Dix , New Jersey occurred in 1976 that caused more than 200 cases with serious illness in several people and one death.

    Can I get swine influenza from eating or preparing pork?
    No. Swine influenza viruses are not spread by food. You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.
     
  2. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Great info Brother!
     
  3. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

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    So, regular flu has killed 16,000 people in 3 months in the United States alone... there have been... 10(?) deaths from swine flu and around 150 cases total?

    I've taken virology, bacterial genetics, genetics, microbiology, biochemistry, molecular genetics, and countless (80+ hours of "science" total) other classes... but the class that is most pertinent to this current news item is BIOETHICS.

    i would say that the news stories that have the words... "It's not a pandemic... YET" around 10+ times is not ethical. All it generates is fear.

    Every year, new strains of flu virus pop up at the end of the flu season and die out quickly... this is business as usual. Is it deadly? Absolutely, but just like regular flu. The best thing they can do is handle it like they do every year (make the vaccine and be ready to put it into the vaccine shot next year, as "end of season" strains of flu usually pop up again at the beginning of next years flu season).

    A few years ago this happened with avian flu. 450 people died from it. I imagine the same will happen here.
     
  4. Bro. Kurt P.M.

    Bro. Kurt P.M. 2018 14G DCO Premium Member

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    From the Los Angeles Times

    Scientists see this flu strain as relatively mild
    Genetic data indicate this outbreak won't be as deadly as that of 1918, or even the average winter.



    By Karen Kaplan and Alan Zarembo

    April 30, 2009

    As the World Health Organization raised its infectious disease alert level Wednesday and health officials confirmed the first death linked to swine flu inside U.S. borders, scientists studying the virus are coming to the consensus that this hybrid strain of influenza -- at least in its current form -- isn't shaping up to be as fatal as the strains that caused some previous pandemics.

    In fact, the current outbreak of the H1N1 virus, which emerged in San Diego and southern Mexico late last month, may not even do as much damage as the run-of-the-mill flu outbreaks that occur each winter without much fanfare.

    "Let's not lose track of the fact that the normal seasonal influenza is a huge public health problem that kills tens of thousands of people in the U.S. alone and hundreds of thousands around the world," said Dr. Christopher Olsen, a molecular virologist who studies swine flu at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine in Madison.

    His remarks Wednesday came the same day Texas authorities announced that a nearly 2-year-old boy with the virus had died in a Houston hospital Monday.

    "Any time someone dies, it's heartbreaking for their families and friends," Olsen said. "But we do need to keep this in perspective."

    Flu viruses are known to be notoriously unpredictable, and this strain could mutate at any point -- becoming either more benign or dangerously severe. But mounting preliminary evidence from genetics labs, epidemiology models and simple mathematics suggests that the worst-case scenarios are likely to be avoided in the current outbreak.

    "This virus doesn't have anywhere near the capacity to kill like the 1918 virus," which claimed an estimated 50 million victims worldwide, said Richard Webby, a leading influenza virologist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

    When the current virus was first identified, the similarities between it and the 1918 flu seemed ominous.

    Both arose in the spring at the tail end of the flu season. Both seemed to strike people who were young and healthy instead of the elderly and infants. Both were H1N1 strains, so called because they had the same types of two key proteins that are largely responsible for a virus' ability to infect and spread.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health published genetic sequence data Monday morning of flu samples isolated from patients in California and Texas, and thousands of scientists immediately began downloading the information. Comparisons to known killers -- such as the 1918 strain and the highly lethal H5N1 avian virus -- have since provided welcome news.

    "There are certain characteristics, molecular signatures, which this virus lacks," said Peter Palese, a microbiologist and influenza expert at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York. In particular, the swine flu lacks an amino acid that appears to increase the number of virus particles in the lungs and make the disease more deadly.

    Scientists have identified several other differences between the current virus and its 1918 predecessor, but the significance of those differences is still unclear, said Dr. Scott Layne, an epidemiologist at the UCLA School of Public Health.

    Ralph Tripp, an influenza expert at the University of Georgia, said that his early analysis of the virus' protein-making instructions suggested that people exposed to the 1957 flu pandemic -- which killed up to 2 million people worldwide -- may have some immunity to the new strain.

    That could explain why older people have been spared in Mexico, where the swine flu has been most deadly.

    The swine virus does appear able to spread easily among humans, which persuaded the WHO to boost its influenza pandemic alert level to phase 5, indicating that a worldwide outbreak of infection is very likely. And the CDC reported on its website that "a pattern of more severe illness associated with the virus may be emerging in the United States."

    "We expect to see more cases, more hospitalizations, and, unfortunately, we are likely to see more deaths from the outbreak," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters Wednesday on her first day at work.

    But certainly nothing that would dwarf a typical flu season. In the U.S., between 5% and 20% of the population becomes ill and 36,000 people die -- a mortality rate of between 0.24% and 0.96%.

    Dirk Brockmann, a professor of engineering and applied mathematics at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., used a computer model of human travel patterns to predict how this swine flu virus would spread in the worst-case scenario, in which nothing is done to contain the disease.

    After four weeks, almost 1,700 people in the U.S. would have symptoms, including 198 in Los Angeles, according to his model. That's just a fraction of the county's thousands of yearly flu victims.

    Just because the virus is being identified in a growing number of places -- including Austria, Canada, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, Spain and Britain -- doesn't mean it's spreading particularly quickly, Olsen said.

    "You don't ever find anything that you don't look for," he said. "Now that diagnostic laboratories and physicians and other healthcare workers know to look for it, perhaps it's not surprising that you're going to see additional cases identified."

    And a pandemic doesn't necessarily have a high fatality rate. Even in Mexico, the fatalities may simply reflect that hundreds of thousands of people have been infected. Since the symptoms of swine flu are identical to those of a normal flu, there's no way to know how many cases have evaded government health officials, St. Jude's Webby said.

    As the virus adapts to its human hosts, it is likely to find ways of spreading more efficiently. But evolution also suggests it might become less dangerous, Olsen said.

    "If it kills off all its potential hosts, you reach a point where the virus can't survive," he said. Working to calm public fears, U.S. officials on Wednesday repeatedly stressed the statistic of yearly flu deaths -- 36,000.

    Sebelius and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano also rejected calls to close the borders, which several lawmakers reiterated Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

    "We are making all of our decisions based on the science and the epidemiology," Napolitano said. "The CDC, the public health community and the World Health Organization all have said that closing out nation's borders is not merited here."

    Though scientists have begun to relax about the initial toll, they're considerably less comfortable when taking into account the fall flu season. They remain haunted by the experience of 1918, when the relatively mild first wave of flu was followed several months later by a more aggressive wave.

    The longer the virus survives, the more chances it has to mutate into a deadlier form.

    "If this virus keep going through our summer," Palese said, "I would be very concerned."
     
  5. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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    Pfft! The media is blowing this all WAY out of proportion!
     
  6. Bro. Kurt P.M.

    Bro. Kurt P.M. 2018 14G DCO Premium Member

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    That is what they do best.
     
  7. gortex6

    gortex6 Guest

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    Is it just me? My post office is not selling stamps or sending anything out :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2009
  8. LRG

    LRG Premium Member

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    Bro. Bill Lins made a good point yesterday.
    The statistics are crazy.Ex. A person is killed in a roll over every minute- watch out-

    with that being said God Speed to every one
     
  9. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Those currently in power just LOVE a crisis- watch them CLOSELY during this nonsense!
     
  10. Ben Rodriguez

    Ben Rodriguez Registered User

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    It is difficult these days to tell what is truly a crisis. I concur with many of you on the media blowing it out of proportion, they love to see people panicking.
    Nonetheless, I urge my beloved brethren to maintain their personal hygiene and take care of themselves, you never know! ;)
     

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