The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the symptoms and transmission of the swine flu from human to human is much like seasonal flu, commonly fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It is believed to be spread between humans through coughing or sneezing of infected people and touching something with the virus on it and then touching their own nose or mouth. The swine flu in humans is most contagious during the first five days of the illness although some people, most commonly children, can remain contagious for up to ten days. Diagnosis can be made by sending a specimen, collected during the first five days, to the CDC for analysis.
The swine flu is susceptible to four drugs licensed in the United States, amantadine, rimantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir, however, for the 2009 outbreak it is recommended it be treated with oseltamivir and zanamivir. The vaccine for the human seasonal H1N1 flu does not protect against the swine H1N1 flu, even if the virus strains are the same specific variety, as they are antigenically very different.
Currently, only the Canadian National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, have developed the reagents necessary to positively identify the A/09(H1N1) swine influenza. Other countries with suspected cases, such as Mexico, have laboratories that can rule out the strain by negative identification (confirmation of another testable strain), but have to send a sample to the NML or CDC to confirm any case.
Recommendations to prevent infection by the virus consist of the standard personal precautions against influenza. This includes frequent washing of hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially after being out in-public. People should avoid touching their mouth, nose or eyes with their hands unless they’ve washed their hands. If people do cough, they should either cough into a tissue and throw it in the garbage immediately, cough into their elbow, or, if they cough in their hand, they should wash their hands immediately.
US based medical product company Baxter International has requested a virus sample from the WHO in order to begin development of a new vaccine. Baxter has patented a cell-based technology that may allow the company to develop a vaccine in half the time it usually takes, possibly cutting development time from six months to three.
The product Tamiflu (Oseltamivir Phosphate) from Roche Laboratories is being used in the United States to treat the illness. Tamiflu comes in a few dosages and in two forms, capsule and suspension. If diagnosed with the current strain of the Swine Flu please discuss further about treatment.
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