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Swine Influenza Virus Information

Confirmed cases of the swine flu virus in Mexico (also known as H1N1 influenza), the United States and other countries has led the U.S. government to issue travel health warnings and offer instructions for U.S. citizens who travel abroad. At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that U.S. travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico.

The first step is to get the facts about swine influenza. On this site, you will learn that "Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs." Since pigs can be infected by swine influenza, avian influenza and human influenza, "the viruses can reassort (i.e. swap genes) and new viruses that are a mix of swine, human and/or avian influenza viruses can emerge." Healthfinder reports that the virus contains genetic pieces from four different flu viruses -- North American swine influenza, North American avian influenza, human influenza viruses and swine influenza viruses found in Asia and Europe, she said.

More important than learning about the origin of this virus is understanding how it spreads, what the symptoms are, preventative measures to minimize the risk of contracting this flu virus and, especially, what treatment to seek if you believe you might have swine flu.

The World Health Organization raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 4 in response to the outbreak.

The U.S. Department of State informs that most cases of influenza are not H1N1 influenza (swine flu). Mexico medical authorities have asked that people only go to the hospital in cases of a medical emergency. Swine flu screening has been instituted at airports and land borders for travelers departing Mexico, according to Mexican health authorities.

For more information, download the brochure Swine Influenza in Pigs and People [PDF format]

UPDATE: The World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the world is in a post-pandemic period. The expectation is that "the H1N1 (2009) virus is expected to continue to circulate as a seasonal virus for some years to come." To read the latest influenza update, click here.

Swine Flu in the News

Tourism Hit by Swine Flu: U.S. Warns on Mexico Travel - ABC News
Airports in the United States and around the world are on high alert as health officials race to tackle the swine flu outbreak.

New swine flu infections intensify travel fears | Reuters
New swine flu infections were found around the world on ... Swine flu raises air travel health concerns ...

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