Cases of suspected Swine Flu in people from Mexico are being spread worldwide. According to the last update made by the World Health Organization (WHO) on April 29th , nine countries have reported 148 positive cases and Mexico has reported 26 confirmed cases including seven deaths.
The WHO has warned of a possible pandemic outbreak and has urged the international community to redouble its vigilance.
The World Health Organization issued a warning on Saturday against the "pandemic potential" of a "new virus"; Swine Flu represents an “urgency in terms of Public Health, to the extent that is transmitted from human to human and has caused at least 20 deaths in Mexico, and affected of people in the United States.
The situation is "unpredictable" and "evolving quickly," said Dr. Chan, Director –General of the World Health Organization on April 25, 2009 in a conference call from the organization's headquarters in Geneva.
“This is an animal strain of the H1N1 virus, and it has pandemic potential because it is infecting people” she warned.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has determined that this virus is contagious but it is still unknown how easily it is transmitted among people.
What is the Swine Flu?
The Swine Flu is an acute respiratory infection that is very contagious in pigs. It is caused by one of several type A influenza viruses and although these viruses are usually specific to that species, sometimes it can cause diseases in humans.
Cases of infections due to Swine Influenza virus type A H1N were reported for the first time in late March and April 2009.
The symptoms of this disease, a variant of the traditional strain H1N1, are fever, cough, sore throat, headache, muscle and joint aches, chills and fatigue.
The incubation period is estimated at ten days, and its diagnosis should be made by collecting a sample from the respiratory system in the first 4 to 5 days of infection.
How do you get the Swine Flu?
By contacting infected pigs or environments contaminated by the Swine Influenza virus.
Through contact with a person carrying the disease. People infected with Swine Influenza virus are potentially contagious while symptoms last possibly up to 7 days after symptoms appear.
There is no record that the virus is transmitted by food as the virus is destroyed at temperatures of 70 º C, so there is no risk of eating pork meat or pork products if they have been handled and cooked properly.
The CDC recommends the use of neuraminidase inhibitors (oseltamivir and zanamivir) in order to prevent or treat the infection. Antiviral drugs can mild the disease.
Because there is still no vaccine against this virus, preventive measures include:
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
Wash your hands with soap and water every time you cough or sneeze and on a regular basis.
Avoid contact with sick people.
If infection is suspected, contact your doctor or health care provider so they can determine if it is necessary to run tests or provide treatment.
Center for Disease Control (CDC) 2009. Retrieved
on April 27, 2009 from http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/swineflu_you.htm
Center for Disease Control (CDC) 2009. Retrieved on April 27, 2009 from http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/key_facts.htm
World Health Organization (WHO) 2009. Retrieved on April 27, 2009 from http://www.who.int/en/
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