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Information about H1N1 Virus (Swine Flu) PDF Print E-mail

Influenza A virus subtype H1N1 (Swine Flu), also known as A(H1N1), is a subtype of influenzavirus A and the most common cause of influenza (flu) in humans. Some strains of H1N1 are endemic in humans, including the strain(s) responsible for the 1918 flu pandemic which killed 50100 million people worldwide. Less virulent H1N1 strains still exist in the wild today, worldwide, causing a small fraction of all influenza-like illness and a large fraction of all seasonal influenza. H1N1 strains caused roughly half of all flu infections in 2006.[1] Other strains of H1N1 are endemic in pigs and in birds.

In March and April 2009, hundreds of laboratory-confirmed infections and a number of deaths were caused by an outbreak of a new strain of H1N1.[2]

For more information abour the H1N1 Virus (Swine Flu) please visit the following websites:

  1. http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/
  2. http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/
References:
  1. "CDC". http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/.
  2. "Swine influenza - update 3". World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_04_27/en/index.html.
  3. www.wikipedia.org

 

Article from http://www.who.int

What can I do?

6 May 2009 (updating content posted 1 May 2009)

What can I do to protect myself from catching influenza A(H1N1)?

Cover your nose with a tissue when you sneeze. Visit www.cdc.gov/h1n1 for more information.The main route of transmission of the new influenza A(H1N1) virus seems to be similar to seasonal influenza, via droplets that are expelled by speaking, sneezing or coughing. You can prevent getting infected by avoiding close contact with people who show influenza-like symptoms (trying to maintain a distance of about 1 metre if possible) and taking the following measures:

  • avoid touching your mouth and nose;
  • clean hands thoroughly with soap and water, or cleanse them with an alcohol-based hand rub on a regular basis (especially if touching the mouth and nose, or surfaces that are potentially contaminated);
  • avoid close contact with people who might be ill;
  • reduce the time spent in crowded settings if possible;
  • improve airflow in your living space by opening windows;
  • practise good health habits including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food, and keeping physically active.

What about using a mask? What does WHO recommend?

If you are not sick you do not have to wear a mask.

If you are caring for a sick person, you can wear a mask when you are in close contact with the ill person and dispose of it immediately after contact, and cleanse your hands thoroughly afterwards.

When and how to use a mask?

If you are sick and must travel or be around others, cover your mouth and nose.

Using a mask correctly in all situations is essential. Incorrect use actually increases the chance of spreading infection.

How do I know if I have influenza A(H1N1)?

You will not be able to tell the difference between seasonal flu and influenza A(H1N1) without medical help. Typical symptoms to watch for are similar to seasonal viruses and include fever, cough, headache, body aches, sore throat and runny nose. Only your medical practitioner and local health authority can confirm a case of influenza A(H1N1).

What should I do if I think I have the illness?

If you feel unwell, have high fever, cough or sore throat:

  • stay at home and keep away from work, school or crowds;
  • rest and take plenty of fluids;
  • cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing and, if using tissues, make sure you dispose of them carefully. Clean your hands immediately after with soap and water or cleanse them with an alcohol-based hand rub;
  • if you do not have a tissue close by when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth as much as possible with the crook of your elbow;
  • use a mask to help you contain the spread of droplets when you are around others, but be sure to do so correctly;
  • inform family and friends about your illness and try to avoid contact with other people;
  • If possible, contact a health professional before traveling to a health facility to discuss whether a medical examination is necessary.

What should I do if I need medical attention?

  • If possible, contact your health care provider before traveling to a health facility, and report your symptoms. Explain why you think you have influenza A (H1N1) (e.g. if you have recently traveled to a country where there is an outbreak in people). Follow the advice given to you.
  • If you cannot contact your health care provider before traveling to a health facility, tell a health care worker of your suspicion of infection immediately after arrival at the clinic or hospital.
  • Cover your nose and mouth during travel.

Should I go to work if I have the flu but am feeling OK?

No. Whether you have influenza A(H1N1) or a seasonal influenza, you should stay home and away from work through the duration of your symptoms. This is a precaution that can protect your work colleagues and others.

Can I travel?

If you are feeling unwell or have symptoms of influenza, you should not travel. If you have any doubts about your health, you should check with your health care provider.

 

 
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