What is H1N1 flu?

New flu strain is genetic mix

THE H1N1 or swine flu, As it became known at the beginning of the epidemic, it is a highly contagious acute respiratory disease common in pigs. These animals can be infected at the same time by more than one type of virus, allowing the virus genes to mix together.

Therefore, experts suspect that the disease that is currently infected with people is caused by a virus that contains genes from many sources - called recombinant (see how recombination works).

It is a virus that contains the mixture of genes that cause swine, avian and human influenza.


The first infected people probably had contact with pigs, on farms and farms, for example. However now the contagion is occurring mainly by close contact between one person and another, especially by coughing or sneezing - hence the reason for wearing the masks.

No contamination was identified in relation to the consumption of pork or meat derivatives. The swine flu virus does not resist cooking at temperatures above 70 ° C, as recommended for the preparation of pork and other meat.

Epidemiologists are especially concerned that the dead identified so far are young adults, the group usually least vulnerable to influenza. It is possible that the elderly and children have resisted the disease by being vaccinated.


Like common human flu, swine has the symptoms: fever (above 39 ° C), tiredness, fatigue, body aches, runny nose and cough. There is a vaccine for pigs, but one has not yet been found that can be used by humans.

According to WHO, the antiviral drug Tamiflu, in initial tests proved effective against the swine flu virus. The treatment to work has to be done within the first 48 hours.


The diagnosis is made in the same way as the common flu. When symptoms of the disease are observed, material is collected for analysis, usually the mucus of the nose and mouth.

In a person with suspicion, the so-called rapid test for the detection of influenza virus is first performed. It is a kit that allows to identify the presence of the influenza virus. If the rapid test is positive, the material collected is sent to a specialized laboratory, and there is identified whether or not the virus found is swine flu.


Infectologist André Lomar argues that the usual vaccination against influenza does not fight the swine virus, but can very mildly alleviate the symptoms. "There is no specific vaccine yet and it would take at least six months to make," said the infectologist in a positive prediction from the scientific community.

Swine Flu Quickies

Why does swine flu kill?
This virus has the ability to reach the lungs and can not only cause pneumonia (which leads to death from respiratory failure) but predisposes the lung to be infected with other bacteria.
Can a person with swine flu heal?
Can. Most cases are being healed spontaneously. For now, the cure rate is unknown. So far, swine flu is being less lethal than bird flu, but it spreads faster because it is transmitted from human to human.
If a person is once contaminated, treated and improved, can they be contaminated again?

Probably not, because she gets protection from this kind of flu virus. But not against other types.

Does the person get the virus "forever" even after it gets better?

No. The virus infects the person, causes symptoms, or does not disappear, and then leaves that person with protection against it (antibodies).

How can I do to prevent flu?
  • Maintain hygiene habits such as hand washing.
  • When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, preferably disposable.
  • Avoid direct contact with sick people.
  • Also do not share food, cups, towels and personal effects. Avoid touching eyes nose and mouth.

Mexico, US flu outbreak has pandemic potential - Apr 25, 2009
BBC Brazil - Swine flu could turn pandemic - 25/04/2009
JC online - Tamiflu seems to be effective against swine flu, says WHO - 25/04/2009
Zero Hora Newspaper 4-6- 29/04/2009