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Tips to Prevent The Spread of Swine Flu
Swine flu is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. It is believed that this influenza virus is a disease in pigs. The symptoms of the disease are similar to those of influenza with cold, fever, sore throat, headache, cough and weakness being common features. Swine flu is usually caused by influenza A subtypes such as H1N1, H1N2, H1N3 and H2N3. Besides persistence in pigs, it has also spread in humans and is currently contributing to influenza worldwide.
Further research has revealed that the current outbreak is the result of a new strain never seen before in pigs. An outbreak of swine flu in June 2009 is believed to have links with pigs on a farm in Alberta, Canada that were linked to a swine flu pandemic in Mexico. Initial reports identified the new strain as swine flu but its source was unknown. Many countries immediately took precautionary measures to reduce the chances of a global pandemic of the disease.
People working with poultry and pigs/pigs are actively exposed and are at increased risk as the influenza virus is limited in these animals. Vaccinating workers and keeping a close eye on the new strain can be an active public health measure to prevent its spread. Other professionals at risk are veterinarians and meat processing workers. However, the risk factor is less for such professionals than farm workers.
Pigs infected with this strain of influenza show fever, lethargy and have obvious breathing difficulties. Direct transmission of swine fever virus from pigs to humans is possible, but only occasionally. The swine flu outbreak of 2009 showed severe respiratory disease. The most common cause of swine flu death is respiratory failure. Other factors related to morbidity and subsequent death are pneumonia, high fever, dehydration due to excessive vomiting and electrolyte imbalance. Adults and children are susceptible to swine flu death.
For the diagnosis of swine flu different medical equipment such as swab test for viral culture and indirect test by the presence of organisms. The prevention of the disease has been categorized with activities that focus on stopping the influenza strain in pigs, preventing transmission to humans and preventing the spread of infection between humans.
Methods of disease prevention in pigs include material control, vaccination and herd control. Standard commercial vaccines can effectively control infection when the virus strains match. Facility management relies on the use of disinfectants and temperature control to eliminate the virus from the environment. Herd management involves separating sick animals from those that are not infected by the virus.
Using masks and vaccination can prevent human infection, while wearing gloves also helps to some extent. Infectious diseases are spread between people by coughing, sneezing or touching any infected surfaces. In humans, swine flu is highly contagious in the first five days of illness while children remain susceptible to infection for up to ten days.
Standard infection control measures such as frequent hand washing, disinfecting household surfaces with chlorine bleach, and avoiding touching the mouth and eyes with infected hands prevent swine flu. Doctors advise that anyone with flu-like symptoms should avoid going out, avoid public places and social gatherings, while taking vaccinations is also helpful.
Treatment of people with swine flu is based on anti-viral drugs that make the disease less severe. Other measures for curing the disease are supportive care at home and in hospitals that focus on relieving pain and maintaining fluid balance.
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