Swine Flu Quick Facts:
What is Swine Influenza?
Swine Influenza, swine flu, is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus (H1N1) that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. H1N1 viruses cause high levels of illness and low death rates in pigs.
Humans and Swine Flu?
Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with swine flu have occurred. Most commonly, these cases occur in persons with direct exposure to pigs (e.g. children near pigs at a fair or workers in the swine industry). In addition, there have been documented cases of one person spreading swine flu to others.
What are the symptoms of swine flu in humans?
The symptoms of swine flu in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Can people catch swine flu from eating pork?
No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You can not get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses. How can human infections with swine influenza be diagnosed? To diagnose swine influenza A infection, a respiratory specimen would generally need to be collected within the first 4 to 5 days of illness (when an infected person is most likely to be shedding virus). However, some persons, especially children, may shed virus for 10 days or longer. Identification as a swine flu influenza A virus requires sending the specimen to CDC for laboratory testing.
What medications are available to treat swine flu infections in humans?
This swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is sensitive (susceptible) to the neuraminidase inhibitor antiviral medications zanamivir and oseltamivir. It is resistant to the adamantane antiviral medications, amantadine and rimantadine.
The Canadian Public Health Agency precautionary measures include:
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitizer
- Cough and sneeze in your arm or sleeve if you don’t have a kleenex
- Get your annual flu shot
- Stay home if sick
If you are experiencing severe flu-like symptoms, please call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.
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