Mutant Swine Flu Virus Crosses Species Barrier

Swine flu is certainly something which has drawn attention of both the Authorities and the general public in many parts of the world. Swine Flu vacinations have been initiated and we hope, will prove to be effective without undue side effects. Time will tell.

Over the months that swine flu has been around, scientists have noticed that, seemingly, it does not pass from person to person in the way that most others flu viruses do. Other flu wiruses can use water supplies as vectors to enter a host. Swine flu must enter the body through the mouth throat or nasal cavities via direct contact.

Here are some simple steps that you can adopt to help reduce your exposure to the swine flu virus.

Wash hands frequently with hot water and soap or alternatively with an alcho gel based product or wipe.

Gargle two to three times daily with salt water or listerine. This will kill most of the flu viruses in your bucal cavity. Drinking frequent hot drinks will also help reduce the numbers of viruses in your mouth.

Wash your nose out with a salt water nasal spray several times a day or wipe the inside of your nose with a cotton bud (Q Tip) soaked in salt water at least twice a day.

Avoid coming into contact with door handles, faucets (taps), basisters and such points of contact which may have been touched by the general public. Where possible open doors with your arm or shoulder.

Weating a surgical mask in crowded places such as busses, trains and stations may also reduce your risk of exposure.

Swine flu is an area where conciousness about good public hygiene can make a great difference.

If you are sick, stay inside your house, do not go outside until given the OK by your doctor or public health or practice nurse. This will help reduce the risk of contaminating others and reduce the risk of complications for yourself.

Avoiding eating food that may have been prepared by people who have come into contact with the general public and who may have swine flu viruses on their hands may also reduce your risk of contamination considerably. Such food outlets may include hot dog tands, hamburger businesses, kebab restaurants Etc. I would advise eating only sizzling hot food on pre-heated plates if you must eat out. Likewise, I would strongly advise against drinking straight out of bottles and cans.

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Massive public concern hits the streets of Mexico, the USA and other Central American countries as over one million reported cases of Swine flu are reported in Mexico with over twenty reported deaths. Swine flu has been know to infect humans in the past, particularly pig handlers but it has never been considered a major threat until now. The virus has now been identified as having crossed the species barrier.

Apparently the virus has been able to form mutations within its capsular wall by including proteins associated with human and avian flu strains. This new mutation makes it challenging for the human bodies immune system to recognize the pathogen and neutralize it.

Although this new virus strain does cause concern, the statistics of exactly how destructive this virus is need to be properly analyzed. Questions which are being asked include, does twenty deaths out of one million people infected with the virus give cause for serious concern? How do these numbers compare with other more common human forms of the flu virus epidemics? Are there any variants from the norm regarding risk groups? Can this new virus strain also be carried by avian vectors?

With H5 N1 bird virus we learned that young healthy people were primarily at risk precisely because of their strong immune reaction. How does this new mutation compare with avian flu ? It is clear that the public need more information about the way that this new virus acts.

It is thought that the virus can be transmitted by a number of vectors including direct contact with pigs, direct contact with infected humans, (the ingestion of infected pork products is stated as not posing a risk because this virus is specific to the respiratory tract), direct or indirect contact with the feces of infected pigs or humans, aerosol spray from the respiratory passages of infected human vectors or contact with surfaces upon which the aerosol of infected humans landed. Water could also serve as a vector if it was contaminated with viral infected feces or respiratory aerosol from infected animals.

On the basis of experience gained from the avian flu and SARS outbreaks authorities are swinging into action to contain the epidemic to avoid the risk of another pandemic and to minimize the risk to citizens of both nations. Citizens in higher than normal risk areas are advised to remain calm but to minimize possible exposure sources where possible by using common sense and to report and to seek medical advice for all flu like symptoms experienced by themselves their family or friends. Washing of hands and avoiding contact with persons showing infection with flu symptoms is advised.

Health experts have been quoted after stating that with the end of the flu season drawing close, it is hoped that this epidemic will come to a swift end.

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