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Swine Flu - Transmission, Findings, Diagnosis & Management

Swine flu, or H1N1 influenza, is an epidemic caused by the influenza virus. Swine influenza virus (H1N1) was first detected in pigs in 1930. Transmission of swine flu virus occurs between pigs and from pigs to humans. People who have had close contact with pigs are at an increased risk of contracting swine flu. Symptoms are usually mild like fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches, and usually it goes away on its own within 3-7 days. 

Swine influenza is a highly contagious acute respiratory disease of pigs. In humans, the symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of the flu. These include chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pain, severe headache, cough, weakness, and general malaise. Ongoing global efforts are underway to improve our understanding of the virus, its etiology, pandemic potential, treatment and control.

Transmission

Among pigs, the disease is spread via aerosols from close contact and contaminated objects/bacteria moving between infected and uninfected piggeries. Humans can become infected through inhalation through close contact with infected pigs, which may be through direct occupational exposure or through livestock. Human-to-human transmission is also possible.

Clinical findings

The clinical presentation of H1N1 swine flu ranged from mild influenza symptoms to severe respiratory symptoms. These include fever and chills, cough, sore throat, sore throat, blocked eyes, muscle pain, shortness of breath, weight loss, chills, sneezing, headache, rhinorrhea, cough, dizziness, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and fatigue. The H1N1 swine flu has an incubation period of 1 to 4 days. The infectious period begins about 1 day before symptoms appear in adults and lasts about 5 to 7 days after symptoms appear.

Heart disease, chronic lung disease, and currently pregnant patients are at increased risk of serious complications.

Laboratory diagnosis

Patients with H1N1 symptoms should be evaluated regularly. Laboratory tests usually include hematological, microbiological, biochemical and radiological examinations. Serological tests such as ELISA and molecular tools such as RT-PCR and real-time PCR are also used to diagnose swine flu. Respiratory samples such as nasal swabs and lung tissue should be collected within the first 4-5 days of illness if an infected individual is detected by this assay.

Management

The first and best step in treatment is swine flu prophylaxis. Persons in close contact with pigs are strongly advised to wear masks when handling animals to prevent respiratory droplet transmission.

Frequent hand washing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and disinfecting homes, hospitals, and public facilities with a diluted bleach solution can help prevent transmission to humans.

Social distancing is another way. That means staying away from other people who may be infected. Additionally, patients with confirmed or suspected swine flu infection should be housed in a single room with the door closed and equipped with negative pressure therapy if aerosol-generating procedures are performed.

Oral medications - Tamiflu, Oseltamivir, Zanamivir.

Swine flu vaccine – Vaxiflu-S, Nasovac.

 

Author

Dr. Meenu Tandon

(BDS,M.ScMedicalBiochemistry)

 

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