Swine flu is a disease of pigs. It is a very contagious respiratory disease caused by one of many flu A viruses. About one to four percent of pigs infected with swine flu die from it. Pigs may get the virus by direct and indirect contact with infected pigs, and from pigs that are infected but the symptoms are not expressed. In many countries, pigs are vaccinated against swine flu. Occasionally, a human may get infected from the pig.
The current global outbreak of swine flu is caused by a highly contagious virus called A (H1N1). Usually, a human gets it from pigs or when contacting with other human who’s infected. This mostly happens when directly contacting with the infected person and in closed groups.
First reports about swine flu date back to 1918. Back then, human flu epidemic, called Spanish influenza, was rampant in Europe. With such different environments, the viruses were developing independently. That is why swine flu is a new strain for humans and our immune system can’t fight it yet.
Frightened by the disease, many people are now worried about eating pork and pork products. You can’t get infected, however, if pork was properly treated and cooked. Cooking temperature of at least 160F (or 70C) kills the virus.
Swine flu outbreaks are quite common at farms in North America, Latin America, Africa, China, Japan and other Asian countries. Swine flu epidemics among pigs were reported in the US, too. People, who are not in constant contact with pigs, are usually not immune against swine flu. So if more people catch the virus, the risk of epidemic increases.
Experts do not undertake to give forecasts about how swine flu epidemic is going to affect the mankind. It will depend on our immune protection mechanisms and other factors.
Source of the image: flickr.com/photos/4yas.