Swine flu, the new trend in animal to human transmitted viruses, is becoming a world-wide pandemic.Some really scary statistics are out there for current reported cases in the United States, amongst other countries including: Mexico, New Zealand and Israel. So what exactly is swine flu, how can you catch it, and should you spit that half-chewed porkchop out of your mouth before you get sick?
Current statistics from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) report cases of Swine flu rising up all around the country. Including 10 cases in California, 2 in Kansas, 45 in NYC, 1 in Ohio, and 6 in Texas.
Due to the current spike in reported cases in the US and around the world, the World Health Organization has elevated the pandemic alert to a level 4, only two levels below a full-scale pandemic. The WHO characterizes this kind of alert level with “person-to-person spread of a new influenza virus able to cause “community-level” outbreaks”.
After testing some of the individuals confirmed to have the virus, it was learned that at least 8 of the cases matched the same strain of the virus that reportedly killed 68 people in Mexico (though thousands in Mexico have become ill). These findings caused the WHO to issue travel warnings for Mexico… which I am sure doesn’t do much to their already failing tourist market…drug trade and now pig flu?! Great.
What is Swine Flu?
- Swine flu is an influenza virus found in pigs. It is characterized by respiratory disease and low death rate (in pigs.)
- The virus, like human influenza, is notorious for rapid mutation.
How do humans contract the virus?
- Close contact to Republicans who love farm animals…. (haha just kidding)
- The virus is transmitted to humans who have direct contact with pigs.
- The virus is contagious during the first 1-7 days before symptoms appear.
How do I avoid getting it?
- Wash your hands regularly
- Sleep enough
- Eat healthily
- Manage your stress level
Is Swine Flu going to kill me?
- Probably not, however; the virus varies in its level of severity from mild to severe. Between 2005-2009, 12 US cases were reported with no casualties… but in 1976 an outbreak of swine flu in Fort Dix, New Jersey killed off over 200 people… Just depends on the strength of the virus at the particular time.
- In the past, swine flu was tied to severe pneumonia and respiratory problems, sometimes resulting in death.
What are the Symptoms of Swine Flu?
- Common to human seasonal flu: body aches, fever, nausea, respiratory difficulties, lethargy, lack of appetite
- In children, be wary of bluish skin color, irritability, and not drinking enough liquids
I have a bacon addiction, does this mean I can’t eat pork anymore?
- No. Swine Flu cannot be transmitted by eating pork… as long as it is cooked. Like any other bacteria, the heat of cooking kills off the danger of contracting the virus.
So let’s say I have Swine Flu.. Can it be treated or am I going to get sent to a pig colony?
- Yes, certain vaccinations can treat swine flu, including: Oseltamivir and Zanamivir.
- Unfortunately, being vaccinated for the human seasonal flu will not protect you from getting swine flu.
- Because this virus rapidly mutates, it is difficult to say whether or not these vaccinations will always be effective.
The bottom line? After all this talk about swine flu, I felt like there needed to be some real clarification on the issue. Yes it is becoming a pandemic problem, but there are ways to avoid and treat the problem. I was sitting in the library the other day and someone actually said that if you get Swine Flu, you’re also likely to have AIDS…. seriously? Ignorance isn’t always bliss folks
To get an Up-to-date review of the international cases of swine flu…click here