Swine Flu – At a Glance

CaseStudies




The 2009 swine flu outbreak is an epidemic which began in April of 2009, and is caused by a new strain of influenza virus, officially called the “H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu)” 15 countries have officially reported 615 cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection.

The 2009 swine flu outbreak is an epidemic which began in April of 2009, and is caused by a new strain of influenza virus, officially called the “H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu)”

15 countries have officially reported 615 cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection.

The current situation regarding the outbreaks of A(H1N1) swine influenza is evolving rapidly, and countries from different regions of the globe have been affected.

Mexico has reported 19 deaths and 506 confirmed human cases of infection. The higher number of cases from Mexico in the past 48 hours reflects ongoing testing of previously collected specimens. The United States Government has reported 160 laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon said, referring to the illness in his country, The virus has entered into a stabilization phase. The cases are starting to decrease.

Apart from Mexico the following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths – Austria (1), Canada (34), China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (1), Denmark (1), France (1), Germany (4), Israel (2), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (4), Republic of Korea (1), Spain (13), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (13).

The Asia-Pacific region is on high alert against the potential danger posed by the outbreak of the human form of swine flu. The governments in the Asia-Pacific region are mobilizing resources and taking measures possible to guard against and prevent the outbreak.

Overview
Seasonal influenza is an acute viral infection caused by an influenza virus.

There are three types of seasonal influenza – A, B and C. Type A influenza viruses are further typed into subtypes according to different kinds and combinations of virus surface proteins. Among many subtypes of influenza A viruses, currently influenza A(H1N1) and A(H3N2) subtypes are circulating among humans. Influenza viruses circulate in every part of the world. Type C influenza cases occur much less frequently than A and B. That is why only influenza A and B viruses are included in seasonal influenza vaccines.

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 April 2009 in the United States. 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.

There is also no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products. Individuals are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis and should seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms of influenza-like illness.

Symptoms of swine flu?
The symptoms of this new influenza A H1N1 virus in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, 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.

Key Facts:

  • Influenza is an acute viral infection that spreads easily from person to person.
  • Influenza circulates worldwide and can affect anybody in any age group.
  • Influenza causes annual epidemics that peak during winter in temperate regions.
  • Influenza is a serious public health problem that causes severe illnesses and deaths for higher risk populations.
  • An epidemic can take an economic toll through lost workforce productivity, and strain health services.
  • Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent infection.

Note: Much of the information in this Case Study is based on studies and past experience with seasonal (human) influenza.  Hospital & Healthcare Management believes the information applies to the new H1N1 (swine) viruses as well, but studies on this virus are ongoing to learn more about its characteristics. This document will be updated as new information becomes available.