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Swine Flu – The Swine Flu Panic is Now Over
The spread of the swine flu epidemic is now sending a wave of panic to all corners of the world. Starting with Mexico where it has claimed a record number of lives, new cases have been confirmed on all continents of the world prompting health professionals to suggest that it will eventually turn into a pandemic.
But what exactly is swine flu? Swine flu or swine flu is described as a highly contagious acute respiratory disease contracted by pigs. It is an airborne disease that spreads through small particles in the air or by direct contact. It is caused by a virus that normally infects pigs and tends to kill one to four percent of those infected. The worst part is that some infected animals may show no symptoms at all, making it difficult to isolate and dispose of the infected.
As the name implies, swine flu usually infects pigs and in most cases is transferred from pig to pig. However, it is quite unfortunate that the virus can cross this species barrier and infect humans. In other words, a swine flu virus can evolve into a form that spreads easily between humans by combining with a human flu virus as it can equally mutate itself into a transmissible form. When that happens, it can spread quickly, especially in this age of cheap flights and frequent cross-border travel. One possible scenario is briefly described by Meri thus:
Unfortunately it seems to be spreading…all it takes is for an infected person to get on a plane out of Mexico…easily spread through contact with an infected person (ie: sneezing, coughing, shaking hands, etc). same as any flu virus. One person on a plane infects 5 others…those 5 get off the plane and infect 25 other people at JFK Airport in New York…those 25 get on different planes going to different parts of the world… each infecting 5 more people…there are now 125 people with swine flu traveling and infecting more people…it won’t take long for it to become a pandemic.
The symptoms of swine flu can hardly be distinguished from those of seasonal flu or influenza. These can include fever, cough, sore throat and body aches. According to the World Health Organization, symptoms can also include acute pneumonia, which can eventually lead to death. If someone shows any or all of the above symptoms, please send the person to the hospital for treatment immediately.
Considering the above facts, along with the media frenzy about the disease outbreak and the fearful comments of health professionals and political leaders, it is quite understandable why people are scared around the world. In fact, the decision by the World Health Organization to raise the alert level to stage five out of six, meaning that a global outbreak is imminent, is enough to cause panic around the world. Instead of panicking, the best thing individuals can do is to be vigilant and do everything possible to prevent contact with the virus. In this regard, the following measures are recommended:
1- Do not travel to a locality where an outbreak of the disease has been reported. Do not travel outside such localities if you live there.
2. If an outbreak of swine flu has been reported in your area, avoid moving around infected people and stay away from high-risk areas. Try not to mingle with people unless absolutely necessary.
3. Under no circumstances should you move near live pigs, unless it is impossible. Remember that the virus is not contracted by eating pork products.
4. Young children, the very elderly, and those with respiratory illnesses or compromised immune systems are most at risk. Therefore, they should be given special attention.
5. Always wash your hands thoroughly after using any public facility, especially restrooms and toilets.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that testing positive for swine flu is not a death sentence. It can be scary and quite scary, the good news is “swine flu is curable”. Not only that, scientists have been working hard to develop a vaccine against the virus that is responsible for the disease. Fortunately, a group of British scientists has taken a giant step in this direction. They have succeeded in developing a strain of swine flu that is suitable for vaccine development. That’s good news, innit?
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