Last night we all watched the 10 pm news, whether it was during our break time, or in a patient's room. The talk of town was the sudden outbreak of Swine flu in Mexico City and now, here in NYC. Images of a pandemic were distributed on multiple cable channels thoughout the 30-minute broadcast.
Swine influenza virus
(referred to as SIV
) refers to influenza cases that are caused by Orthomyxoviruses endemic to pig populations. SIV strains isolated to date have been classified either as Influenzavirus C or one of the various subtypes of the genus Influenzavirus A.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) reports that the symptoms and transmission of the Swine Flu from human to human is much like seasonal flu -- commonly fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, and coughing. Some people with Swine Flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is believed to be spread between humans through coughing or sneezing of infected people and touching something with the virus on it and then touching their own nose or mouth. The Swine Flu in humans is most contagious during the first 5 days of the illness although some people, most commonly children, can be contagious for up to 10 days. Diagnosis can be made by sending a specimen, collected during the first 5 days, to the CDC for analysis.
As I listened to last night's news broadcast and compared it with that of this morning's news, it seems as if more states and many nations are identifying outbreaks of this flu. Are you worried? Should we be? HANDWASHING IN EFFECT. Will this reach epidemic proportions similar to that seen in 1918 with the H-Flu outbreak?