Page: 1 | 2 | 3
Swine flu is similar to seasonal flu and is referred to as Influenza A or H1N1. Swine Flu is a new strain of influenza (flu virus). There are several types of flu viruses that change their structure. This explains why you need a new flu vaccination each year. Antibodies (proteins which fight germs that enter your body) are produced by your body when you get the flu virus to protect itself. These antibodies are able to remember the flu virus and fight it if it enters your body again.
Similarly to seasonal flu, swine flu viruses are able to change (mutate) into a different type, which means that if you were to get a different version of the flu virus, your body would not recognise it and would get flu. There are also different types of swine flu.
At this time, there are four main influenza type A virus subtypes that have been isolated in pigs: H1N1, H1N2, H3N2, and H3N1. However, most of the recently isolated influenza viruses have been H1N1 viruses.
How the infection is spread
Influenza H1N1 spreads just as the normal seasonal flu does. The virus can be spread via small droplets from a cough or sneeze. The flu virus is spread by people breathing in these droplets or coming into contact with droplets on contaminated surfaces. These droplets can actually survive for few hours on surfaces such as tissues and on hands. So, if someone else touches this surface they can become infected. The droplets can travel in air and spread to others by them breathing it in, which is why it is important to cover your nose or mouth when coughing or sneezing.
Page: 1 | 2 | 3
- Catch it, Bin it, Kill it.
- DH information leaflet www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum_dg/groups/dg_digitalassets/@dg/@en/documents/digitalasset/dg_178687.pdf
- E- Bugs website
- Swine flu factsheet for junior school www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1236069362364
- NHS Choices website Swine Flu