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Swine Flu Central


On the topic of the Swine Flu, I'm being asked: Will you still travel? Are you afraid of Swine Flu?

Of course I will travel, because that's what I do. And to be honest, I'm more concerned about the Wine Flu, which is what I may have caught last night after repeated mouth-to-glass contact. But seriously, our company sent these two articles around last week and I thought I'd share the information. They're both from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The first one is Questions and Answers. Here are a few to get started:

What is H1N1 (swine flu)?

H1N1 (referred to as "swine flu" early on) is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. This new virus was first detected in people in April 2009 in the United States. Other countries, including Mexico and Canada, have reported people sick with this new virus. This virus is spreading from person-to-person, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread.

Why is this new H1N1 virus sometimes called "swine flu"?

This virus was originally referred to as "swine flu" because laboratory testing showed that many of the genes in this new virus were very similar to influenza viruses that normally occur in pigs in North America. But further study has shown that this new virus is very different from what normally circulates in North American pigs. It has two genes from flu viruses that normally circulate in pigs in Europe and Asia and avian genes and human genes. Scientists call this a "quadruple reassortant" virus.

The other article lists Key Facts:

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 degrees Fahrenheit 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.

And some good news . . . here's the latest from an article on

Mexico has revised down the suspected death toll from swine flu from 176 to 101, indicating that the outbreak may not be as bad as was initially feared.

Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova told the BBC that, based on samples tested, the mortality rate was comparable with that of seasonal flu.

So there you go. I'm guessing that's all you need to know about the Swine Flu. This picture has been passed around the World Wide Web. When I saw it, I laughed.


When I joked with a colleague that I was furious at my sister for letting my nephew lick a pig's snout on a recent trip to the zoo, the colleague, who canceled a trip to Mexico next week for a Lorena Ochoa photo shoot, replied: "I don't think that's a good idea, quite frankly." Of course he's right, but that's not my nephew.

--Matty G.