, Volume 76, Issue 8, pp 833-841
Date: 04 Sep 2009

Swine origin influenza (swine flu)

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Abstract

Swine origin influenza was first recognized in the border area of Mexico and United States in April 2009 and during a short span of two months became the first pandemic. The currently circulating strain of swine origin influenza virus of the H1N1 strain has undergone triple reassortment and contains genes from the avian, swine and human viruses. It is transmitted by droplets or fomites. Incubation period is 2 to 7 days. Common clinical symptoms are indistinguishable by any viral respiratory illness, and include fever, cough, sore throat and myalgia. A feature seen more frequently with swine origin influenza is GI upset. Less than 10% of patients require hospitalization. Patients at risk of developing severe disease are - younger than five years, elderly, pregnant women, with chronic systemic illnesses, adolescents on aspirin. Of the severe manifestations of swine origin influenza, pneumonia and respiratory failure are the most common. Unusual symptoms reported are conjunctivitis, parotitis, hemophagocytic syndrome. Infants may present with fever and lethargy with no respiratory symptoms. Diagnosis is based on RT PCR, Viral culture or increasing neutralizing antibodies. Principle of treatment consist of isolation, universal precautions, good infection control practices, supportive care and use of antiviral drugs. Antiviral drugs effective against H1N1 virus include: oseltamivir and zamanavir. With good supportive care case fatality is less than 1%. Preventive measures include: social distancing, practicing respiratory etiquette, hand hygiene and use of chemoprohylaxis with antiviral drugs. Vaccine against H1N1 is not available at present, but will be available in near future.