What is the swine flu?
This is a highly contagious respiratory disease that affects pigs, caused by a virus of the swine flu. Su Its morbidity is usually high and low mortality (1-4%). The virus is contagious among pigs by aerosol and through direct and indirect contact. Viruses are the most frequent type H1N1, but also circulating among pigs other viruses such as H1N2, H3N2 and H3N1. Outbreaks among pigs occur frequently, mainly in autumn and winter.
- How does it affect human health?
Occasionally been reported outbreaks and sporadic infections of swine flu in humans. Generally, clinical symptoms are similar to common flu, but their clinical presentation is wide, from asymptomatic infection to severe pneumonia that end in death.
As the classic clinical presentation of swine flu in humans is similar to the common flu (fever, cough, headache …) and other acute respiratory tract infections, most cases have been detected by chance through the system Common influenza surveillance. Asymptomatic or mild cases may have escaped detection, so you know the real extent of the disease among humans.
- How is the infection?
Normally people are infected through diseased pigs, but some human cases have occurred without contact with these animals. Transmission between humans has occurred in some cases but has been limited to close contacts and groups of people.
- Is it safe to eat pork and pig products?
The swine flu is not contagious to people through consumption of pork processed or prepared properly or through other products derived from pork. The swine influenza virus is eliminated when cooking at temperatures of 70 º C.
- Is there a risk of a pandemic?
It is likely that most people, especially those who have no regular contact with pigs have no immunity to swine influenza viruses that can prevent infection from this virus. If a swine influenza virus infection achieved effectively between humans, could cause a pandemic (worldwide epidemic).
The impact of a pandemic caused by this type of virus is difficult to predict: it depends on the virulence of the virus, immunity between people, that could confer cross-protective antibodies to the common flu. The swine influenza virus can lead to a hybrid virus mixing with a human influenza virus causing a pandemic.
- Is there a human vaccine to protect swine flu?
No. Influenza viruses change very quickly and the match between the vaccine and circulating viruses is very important to provide adequate immunity in vaccinated people. Hence the need to select virus WHO twice a year to the common flu vaccine.
The current influenza vaccine produced under WHO recommendations do not contain viruses of swine flu. It is not known whether the influenza vaccine can provide cross-protection against the current outbreak of swine flu in the U.S. and Mexico. WHO is working closely with other institutions to a new warning about the use of influenza vaccine in preventing common infection of the swine flu.
- Is there a treatment for swine flu?
Antiviral drugs for influenza is common in some countries prevent and treat the disease effectively. There are two classes of these drugs: the adamantanes (amantadine and remantadina) and the neuraminidase inhibitors (oseltamivir and zanamivir).
Most previous cases of swine flu was completely recovered from the disease without needing medical attention or antiviral drugs.
Some influenza viruses develop resistance to antiviral drugs, limiting the effectiveness of prophylaxis and treatment. Viruses from recent human cases in the U.S. responded to oseltamivir and zanamivir, but were resistant to amantadine and remantadine.
The information is insufficient to make recommendations on the use of antiviral in the prevention and treatment of swine influenza infection. Doctors must make decisions based on clinical trials and epidemiological and balance damage / benefits of treatment to the patient. For the current outbreak in the U.S. and Mexico, national and local authorities recommend using oselatmivir or zanamivir for treatment and prevention of disease based on the susceptibility profile of the virus.