There is tremendous concern amongst some regarding the swine flu. In reality, here in the United States it really shouldn’t be much of cause for alarm. Our country is a very advanced nation with high standards of medical care and hygiene relative to the rest of the world. The pandemic outbreak that you might see will be in the third world countries where medical care and hygiene are very low.
According to the World Health Organization flu chief Keiji Fukuda “If we do move into a pandemic, then our expectation is that we will see a large number of people infected worldwide,” Fukuda said. “If you look at past pandemics, it would be a reasonable estimate to say perhaps a third of the world’s population would get infected with this virus.” With the current total population of more than 6 billion, that would mean an infection total of 2 billion, he said.
This particular strain of swine flu appears to have a very long incubation period, up to a week before the patient notices symptoms, according to Dr. Marc-Alain Widdowson, a medical epidemiologist from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now tracking the flu in Mexico City.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and prevention says this about the swine flu symptoms:
What are the symptoms of swine flu in humans?
The symptoms of swine flu in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Can people catch swine flu from eating pork?
No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You can not get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.
How does swine flu spread?
Influenza viruses can be directly transmitted from pigs to people and from people to pigs. Human infection with flu viruses from pigs are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to infected pigs, such as in pig barns and livestock exhibits housing pigs at fairs. Human-to-human 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 or nose.
The CDC recommends routine precautions to prevent the spread of infectious diseases: wash your hands often, cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, avoid close contact with sick people. If you are sick, stay at home and limit contact with others.
Prescription drugs help some patients that have the flu but for the vast majority of the US population our normally good hygiene is enough to combat the Swine Flu.