The Pandemic H1N1/09 virus is believed to have originated from pigs found in Asia but reached North America through a human host. It has been considered more contagious than human influenza. This epidemic has been called ‘swine disease’ and more popularly, ‘swine flu’. It comes from Influenza A virus subtype H1N1 virus strain found in swine.
Anti-flu vaccines have been rendered useless to combat this sickness. Adults over 60 have a higher degree of immunity compared to individuals of younger age groups. This virus contains genes from human influenza, North American swine influenza, North American avian influenza along two other types of swine influenza viruses that are usually found in Asia and Europe.
This virus is considered contagious and spreads like human influenza. Contamination is caused by droplets from compromised individuals by way of sneezing and coughing. It can also be spread by contact with the surface of a hand belonging to an infected person and touching your mouth, eyes or nose. Those compromised are recommended not to resume normal activities sooner than four days after the onset of the symptoms. Recent studies have shown that individuals may remain contagious for a far longer period of time.
Most health officials claim that the severity of this disease is just as mild as the seasonal flu. Newer studies have shown that it may not be accurate. Researchers have discovered that swine flu has the ability to compromise cells that lie deeper within a person’s lungs. While the human strain of influenza only infects receptor type a2-6 that are found in the mouth and throat region, this illness can compromise with receptor type2-6 as well. By destroying the alveoli, it can lead to respiratory distress syndrome. This disease has the capability to mutate. Should that occur, it may lead to an even more deadly strain.
A process termed ‘reassortment’ is what causes this virus to morph. This happens when different types of virulent material compromise a single cell. The genome of the virus is split into pieces of RNA. These mix together to form a different strain. Swine is a host because it is susceptible to both human and avian strains.
Tips and comments:
This disease can be controlled if discovered at an early stage. There is news of a breath test with the ability to check your immunity to this strain of flu. This may prove helpful based on the ability to determine whether you need to be vaccinated or not.
To prevent the spread of the disease, it is advisable to visit your nearest healthcare professional at the onset of a fever. Routine tests can be performed to determine if you have contracted this illness.
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