Swine Flu Facts and Updates
The swine flu is caused by the influenza type A H1N1 virus. Influenza viruses frequently mutate, which is why vaccines developed against previously characterized viruses quickly lose efficiency and we see new vaccines every year.
The rapid mutations are also the reason why the swine flu is now able to efficiently spread to and between humans. And that is the key issue. It’s not a mutant form of a previous influenza strain that has been spreading between humans before. So first of all, humans, unlike swines, have little innate resistance to this virus. Secondly, there are no specific vaccines. The vaccines already on the market offer only marginal protection, if any, because they were developed against different i.e. human strains.
It takes approximately three months to develop a new vaccine for humans. In the meantime the virus can spread and could develop into a pandemic killing millions of people worldwide. Although there is no reason to panick, there is definitely reason to be catious and prepared.
Here are the key online resources for your protection.
Swine Flu Information
The Wold Health Organization coordinates global health issues. Here is where you will find up to date information on the situation, with number of cases and deaths reported around the world.
The WHO offers an RSS Feed for the Swine influenza.
CDC provides extensive resources including detailed information about the virus, antiviral drugs, taking care of a sick person or which facemasks and respirators to use. Furthermore, there is a record of all cases and deaths confirmed within the USA, prominently displayed on the H1N1 Flu mainpage.
For everyone worried about catching the virus, CDC has a collection of sites dedicated to the Seasonal Flu. Although these recommendations were not specifically written for the swine flu, they apply just as well. There is a fact sheet of Good Health Habits that can help stop germs, a list of Symptoms, resources on possible Treatments and how you can Take Care Of Yourself.
The CDC also broadcasts on Twitter.