Thursday, May 21, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
A virus cell (such as the H1N1 swine flu cells above) is made up of a core that contains genetic material, which is surrounded by a protein-filled coat that allows the virus to catch onto and invade target cells. Each cell measures about one-ten-thousandth of a millimeter wide.
Novel H1N1 Flu
What is H1N1 (swine flu)? H1N1 (referred to as “swine flu” early on) is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. This new virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. Other countries, including Mexico and Canada, have reported people sick with this new virus. This virus is spreading from person-to-person, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread
Why is this new H1N1 virus sometimes called “swine flu”? This virus was originally referred to as “swine flu” because laboratory testing showed that many of the genes in this new virus were very similar to influenza viruses that normally occur in pigs in North America. But further study has shown that this new virus is very different from what normally circulates in North American pigs. It has two genes from flu viruses that normally circulate in pigs in Europe and Asia and avian genes and human genes. Scientists call this a “quadruple reassortant” virus.
Are there human infections with this H1N1 virus in the U.S.? Yes. Cases of human infection with this H1N1 influenza virus were first confirmed in the U.S. in Southern California and near Guadalupe County, Texas. The outbreak intensified rapidly from that time and more and more states have been reporting cases of illness from this virus. An updated case count of confirmed novel H1N1 flu infections in the United States is kept at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/investigation.htm. CDC and local and state health agencies are working together to investigate this situation.
Is this new H1N1 virus contagious? CDC has determined that this new 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 this virus in people? The symptoms of this new H1N1 flu virus in people are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with this virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting. Also, like seasonal flu, severe illnesses and death has occurred as a result of illness associated with this virus.
Can I get infected with this new H1N1 virus from eating or preparing pork? No. H1N1 viruses are not spread by food. You cannot get this new HIN1 virus from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.
What can I do to protect myself from getting sick? There is no vaccine available right now to protect against this new H1N1 virus. 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.
- Stay home if you are sick for 7 days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. This is to keep from infecting others and spreading the virus further.