10 Things You Didn't Know About Swine Flu

Officials are trying to ensure there is enough swine flu vaccine to go around.

By SHARE

1. The most recent form of swine flu, known as the H1N1 influenza virus, was first detected in the United States in April 2009.

2. Scientists say the H1N1 virus contains a mixture of genes from four different flu viruses: two genes from flu viruses normally found in pigs in Europe and Asia and two found in avian and human genes in North America.

3. The swine flu, a respiratory virus, spreads from person to person mainly through coughing or sneezing. The virus is not spread through food such as pork or pork products.

4. As of July 27, the World Health Organization confirmed 134,503 cases of swine flu and 816 deaths from the virus worldwide. WHO predicts that the virus will infect 2 billion people over the next two years.

5. Certain people, such as those 65 years and older, children younger than 5, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions, are at a higher risk of more serious flu-related complications.

6. Doctors advise against "swine flu parties" where people intentionally try to get infected with a mild form of the H1N1 virus in hopes of becoming naturally immune to a deadlier form.

7. Symptoms of the recent swine flu are similar to those of the seasonal flu.

8. WHO declared swine flu a pandemic on June 11, making it the first global flu epidemic in 41 years.

9. About 160 million doses of the swine flu vaccine are expected to be available sometime in October.

10. Pregnant women with swine flu are more likely to be hospitalized, a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. They made up 13 percent of the 45 H1N1 deaths from April 15 to June 16.

Sources:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • World Health Organization
  • Associated Press