Swine Flu - Current Epidemic

Karishma Kulkarni*, Nikhil Thatte*, Rucha Shelgikar*, Ira Shah**
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Swine Flu - Current Epidemic - Presentation
The symptoms of novel H1N1 flu virus in people include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue, which are quite similar to those of seasonal flu. A significant number of people who have been infected with this virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting.

When to suspect H1N1 influenza?
A child with fever should be suspected to H1N1 influenza in following circumstances:
• Within 7 days of close contact with a person who is a confirmed case of influenza A (H1N1) virus infection, or
• Within 7 days of travel to community where there are one or more confirmed novel influenza A(H1N1) cases, or
• Resides in a community where there is one or more confirmed novel influenza cases.

Swine flu is caused by a novel strain of the influenza virus called H1N1. This virus is spreading from person-to-person, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread. You will not be able to tell the difference between seasonal flu and influenza A (H1N1) without medical help. Typical symptoms to watch for are similar to seasonal viruses and include fever, cough, headache, body aches, sore throat and runny nose. Like seasonal flu, H1N1 swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic diseases. Only your medical practitioner and local health authority can confirm a case of influenza A (H1N1). If they suspect any symptoms they will send your blood sample, throat swab and nasopharyngeal (nose to mouth) for testing to laboratories.

In most patients swine flu causes a mild disease. Only in certain high risk population is the infection severe. Influenza A (H1N1) is a new virus and one to which most people have no or little immunity and, therefore, this virus could cause more infections than are seen with seasonal flu. Thus the overall vulnerability of the population can play a major role. For example, people with underlying chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, asthma, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and several others, are more likely to experience severe or lethal infections. The prevalence of these conditions, combined with other factors such as nutritional status makes swine flu a dangerous infection for these patients to catch.

The following groups are at a higher risk for swine flu related complications:
• Children less than 5 years old
• Persons aged 65 years or older
• Children and adolescents (less than 18 years) who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and who might be at risk for experiencing Reye syndrome after influenza virus infection
• Pregnant women
• Adults and children who have chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular, hepatic, hematological, neurologic, neuromuscular, or metabolic disorders
• Adults and children who have immunosuppression (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by HIV)
• Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities.

• Fast breathing or trouble breathing
• Bluish or gray skin color
• Not drinking enough fluids
• Severe or persistent vomiting
• Not waking up or not interacting
• Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
• Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough


References
Swine Flu - Current Epidemic Swine Flu - Current Epidemic 01/08/2009
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