Swine flu (H1N1 influenza infection) is a respiratory disease which is caused by the influenza virus. It is a highly contagious disease that has spread from infected people to healthy people. In 2017, swine flu cases have been rapidly rising as compared to last year (2016) and high morbidity and mortality have also been observed.
Swine Flu cases rise due to the following reasons:
1. People are not naturally immunized against H1N1 influenza A virus strain.
2. H1N1 Influenza A virus transmits via air from an infected patient to a healthy person. So it is difficult to prevent and control infection due to its rapid spreading and multiplying capability.
3. H1N1 Influenza A virus becomes more virulent and adaptable due to rapid antigenic shifts and drifts changes.
Types of Swine Flu
Commonly human influenza type A and B virus strains cause a widespread incidence of swine flu infection.
Global recent data of Swine Flu cases
WHO Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS) recently (September 3, 2017) reported that 87.5% patients were influenza A positive while 12.5% patients were influenza B positive of 79 countries. It means HINI influenza A virus strain is more virulent and dangerous as compared to influenza B virus strain.
Control of Swine Flu cases
Vaccination: WHO recommends flu vaccine yearly for all health professionals and it should be used by the public too. It has been observed that no vaccine provides 100% protection to flu infection but about 70% to 80% efficacy rate has still been achieved.
Personal Hygiene: It is important that people adhere to personal cleaning, repeated hand washing with soap and antiseptic, and avoidance of infected patients. H1N1 infected patients should cover their mouth and nose to protect others.
Advice for infected patients: People infected with swine flu with confirmed H1N1 influenza An infection are advised to remain in the hospital or home and avoid traveling for at least 7 days.
Use of Face masks: The FDA has cleared the following N95 respirators for use by the general public. Facemasks and N95 respirators do not provide complete protection from airborne germs and other contaminants. They are one part of an infection-control strategy. Facemasks should not be shared. Facemasks and respirators may become contaminated with germs (viruses and bacteria) that can be spread between people. After removal, it should be disposed of properly followed by washing hands thoroughly.
Pasture F550G Respirator
Pasture A520G Respirator
Chemo-prophylaxis: Patients with high risk of H1N1 infection should take antiviral medicines for treatment as prescribed by a registered doctor to control life-threatening complications presented by the disease.
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