Key Facts about Swine Influenza (Swine Flu)
What is Swine Influenza?
How can human infections with swine
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease
influenza be diagnosed?
of pigs caused by type A influenza virus that
To diagnose swine influenza A infection, a
regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs.
respiratory specimen would generally need to be collected within the first 4 to 5 days of
What are the symptoms of swine flu in humans?
illness (when an infected person is most likely
The symptoms of swine flu in people are expected
to be shedding virus). However, some persons,
to be similar to the symptoms of regular human
especially children, may shed virus for 10 days
seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack
or longer. Identification as a swine flu influenza
of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine
A virus requires sending the specimen to CDC
flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat,
What medications are available to treat swine
Can people catch swine flu from eating pork?
flu infections in humans?
No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by
There are four different antiviral drugs that are
food. You can not get swine influenza from eating
licensed for use in the US for the treatment of
pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and
cooked pork and pork products are safe. Cooking
recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir
pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills the
for the treatment and/or prevention of infection
swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.
How does swine flu spread?
Is the H1N1 swine flu virus the same as human
Influenza viruses can be directly transmitted
from pigs to people and from people to pigs.
No. The H1N1 swine flu viruses are antigenically
Human infection with flu viruses from pigs are
very different from human H1N1 viruses and,
most likely to occur when people are in close
therefore, vaccines for human seasonal flu
proximity to infected pigs, such as in pig barns
would not provide protection from H1N1 swine
and livestock exhibits housing pigs at fairs.
transmission of swine flu
can also occur. This is thought to occur in the
same way as seasonal flu occurs in people,
which is mainly person-to-person transmission
through coughing or sneezing of people
infected with the influenza virus. People may
become infected by touching something with
flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth
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Is there a vaccine for swine flu?
What are the signs of more severe illness
At this time, there is no vaccine for swine
with swine flu?
flu. The season influenza vaccine does not
In children emergency warning signs that
provide protection against swine flu. This
need urgent medical attention include:
covering coughs and washing hands, all the
•Not drinking enough fluids •Not waking up or not interacting
What is the Health Department doing
•Being so irritable that the child does not
about the swine flu outbreaks in New York
•Flu-like symptoms improve but then return
Testing has confirmed a cluster of swine flu
at St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens,
but all of the cases have been mild. Some
In adults, symptoms that need emergency
family members of ill children have become
medical attention include:
ill, suggesting that it’s spreading person to
•Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
person at this time. We don’t know if this
•Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
closely monitoring health trends in New York
City for evidence of a wider outbreak. Agency officials are also speaking regularly
How can I protect myself from swine
with all hospitals in New York City. The
Here are the best ways to avoid getting or
citywide increases in severe lung infections.
•Encourage all people to cover their mouth
information about swine flu, please visit the
•Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.
•Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective. •Try to avoid close contact with sick people. •If you get sick, limit contact with others to avoid infecting them. These are the same protections as those for seasonal flu and many other respiratory infections.
Content Source: New York City Health Department
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