The H1N1 Flu

This six-part series will answer various questions about the H1N1 flu (or swine flu). All content contained herein is based on information from the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Please always remember to get your yearly flu vaccine to ensure your good health.

What about human-to human spread of the H1N1 flu? In September 1988, a previously healthy 32-year-old pregnant woman was hospitalized for pneumonia and died 8 days later. A swine H1N1 flu virus was detected. Four days before getting sick, the patient visited a county fair swine exhibition where there was widespread influenza-like illness among the swine. In follow-up studies, 76% of swine exhibitors tested had antibody evidence of swine flu infection but no serious illnesses were detected among this group. Additional studies suggest that one to three health care personnel who had contact with the patient developed mild influenza-like illnesses with antibody evidence of swine flu infection.

How common is this in humans? In the past, CDC received reports of approximately one human H1N1 influenza virus infection every one to two years in the U.S., but from December 2005 through February 2009, 12 cases of human infection with swine influenza have been reported.

What are the signs and symptoms of the H1N1 flu? The symptoms of this new influenza A H1N1 virus in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with this virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting. Also, like seasonal flu, severe illnesses and death has occurred as a result of illness associated with this virus.

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