Causes, effects, symptoms and prevention

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Now days the topic which is discussed more between people is swine flu, its causes, effects, symptoms and prevention. Swine flu has become a panic in worldwide. And now days it has become a panic throughout the world. And now a day it has spread in India also. It is a dangerous viral disease which infects the respiratory track and may lead to death in humans. The main problem of this disease is that it is very difficult to detect it as its symptoms are very similar to common flu. It has caused many deaths across the world due to the negligence of doctors and in some cases the patients were hospitalized in very critical condition that they are put on ventilators and they die. Swine flu viruses normally do not infect humans but randomly humans got infected. Often the disease is observed in people with direct exposure to pigs. The disease can be transferred from one person to other through coughing and sneezing.


  • According to Professor Dmitry Lvov of D.I. Ivanovsky Institute of Virology in Moscow, the swine flu has originated as a result of bird flu's mutation in a body of a pig. Pigs can easily catch both human and bird flue. When both were mixed together the genes of these two viruses evolved a new type of influenza called the swine flu.
  • In September 1988, a woman was killed by the swine flu virus in United States.
  • In 1998 swine flu virus was detected in 4 states of United States.

Origin of swine flu in 2009

In 2009 the illness have originated in La Gloria, a small town in southern Mexico in April 2009.

The first confirmed case in Mexico City was made public on 18th march 2009. the first human case was traced to a 5yrs young boy named Edgar Hernandiz.

Case study of Edgar Hernandiz

Edgar, like many residents of La Gloria, got sick in early April, with high fever and complaining of headache and pain, according to his mother Maria del Carmen Hernandez. But after a visit to the doctor, he recovered.

During the town's flu outbreak, health officers tested residents and concluded that they had ordinary influenza. Some of those samples were sent to Mexico City. Once the case of swine flu was confirmed in other parts of the country, Mexico also sent the samples from La Gloria to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for further testing. The samples were negative, except the one that belonged to Edgar.

But no one else in the family got swine flu, although Edgar slept on the same bed with his three-year-old brother and his parents.

Some of the residents of La Gloria blamed the epidemic on a nearby pig farm for the spread of the flu.

Swine flu in India:-

Swine flu has affected many people in India with the maximum number of patients in Pune and Delhi.

The first case of the flu in India was found in a 23 year old man at Hyderabad airport on 13 May, coming from United States to India. And the case was confirmed by the health ministry of India.

When he came at airport he was found to be suffering from fever.

After that he was shifted to the identified isolation facility under high infection control. His samples was tested positive for influenza A (H1N1),according to the health ministry statement.

The persons, who were not identified, were been treated with anti-influenza drugs called Oseltamivir and Afebrile.

All the passengers who came in contact with the infected person were also examined.

Structure of influenza virus

The influenza virus is rough and spherical. It is an enveloped virus and the outer layer is a lipid membrane which is taken from the host cell in which the virus multiplies. Inserted into the lipid membrane are spikes, which are proteins i.e. glycoprotein, because they consist proteins linked to sugars known as HA (hemagglutinin) and NA (neuraminidase). These are the proteins which determines the type of influenza virus and the subtype (A/H1N1).The HA and NA are important in the immune response against the virus; antibodies (proteins made by us to combat infection) against these spikes may protect against infection. The NA protein is the target of the antiviral drugs Relenza and Tamiflu.


In humans-

Common symptoms of swine flu-

  • High fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Body pain
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Tiredness, which can be extreme
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Serious symptoms of swine flu-

  • Fast breathing problem
  • Bluish skin colour
  • Problem in drinking fluid
  • Severe vomiting
  • Being irritated
  • Flu-like symptoms increase return with fever and worse cough after regular intervals
  • Loss of appetite

High risk group that may be affected by swine flu-

  • Pregnant women
  • Children's below two years
  • People having chronic medical problems like lungs disease,asthma,diabetes,and immunosuppression
  • Children with obesity

Note:-More than half of the hospitalizations and about one fourth of the deaths from swine flu are in young people below the age of 25.

Symptoms In pigs-

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • sneezing
  • coughing
  • breathing problem
  • decrease in appetite
  • weight loss
  • In some cases the infection causes abortion


In pigs-

The main route of transmission in pigs is through direct contact between infected and uninfected pigs.

Intensive farming also increases th e risk of transmission as the pigs are raised very close to one another.

The direct transfer of the virus mostly takes place by either the pigs touching noses, or through the dried mucus.

The airborne transmission takes place through the aerosols produced by pigs while coughing or sneezing.

In humans from pigs-

  • People working at poultry with swine are at great risk of transmission.
  • People working as veterinary

From humans to humans-

  • The H1N1 virus spreads into the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs and the droplets along with the virus comes in direct contact with another person's nose or mouth.
  • People can be infected by touching anything contaminated with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose with same hand.
  • People having direct contact with the infected person.

Test for swine flu:-

Scientists in Melbourne have founded a test which is able to detect the Swine Flu virus in hours.

The test is called RETCIF™ test which is a simple test and is carried out on the sample like nasal swab. If any virus is present in the sample they are grown rapidly in the culture before being observed under a fluorescent microscope.

This test is hundred percent accurate and is currently the most effective way of testing for virus.

It can be detected within one to three hours to check that the patient has some virus. To tell the type of virus a patient has it takes about a day.

This test may be used at airports to know the result in less time.

Yet this test is not used commercially, but is expected to be used within 24 months.


In pigs-

As we know that the swine influenza is rarely fatal to pigs, treatment beyond rest and supportive care are required for them. Antibiotics are also used for the treatment of the disease.

In humans-

Oseltamivir and relenza are used for vaccination. Oseltamivir is more effective than relenza.

It is an antiviral drug which slows the spread of the swine flu virus among the cells in the body by stopping the virus from tying with its host cell. The drug is sold under the trade name called Tami flu and is taken orally as capsules. Oseltamivir becomes active in the body as it passes through the liver.

This drug was developed by C.U Kim and X. Chen of US based Gilead science and is currently being marketed by Hoffman-La Roche. In Japan, this drug is being marketed by a company called Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. This company has 50% share with Roche.

Tami flu has been approved for use by persons of the age 1 and above. The normal adult dose for treatment of swine flu is 75mg twice daily for 5 days with the consult of a doctor. Oseltamivir may also be given as a preventive measure either during a community outbreak or if one goes in close contact with an infected individual. Tami flu is a prodrug, which is hydrolyzed hepatically to the active metabolite.

Tami flu is a neuraminidase inhibitor which serves as a competitive inhibitor towards the sialic acid and is found on the surface proteins of normal host cells.

By blocking the activity of the neuraminidase, oseltamivir prevents the new viral particles from being released by the infected cells.

Chemical synthesis:-

The production of oseltamivir or Tami flu includes a number of steps. They are as follows:-


Precautions to be taken in daily life:-

  1. While being in a crowded area or in close contact (within 6 feet) with a people who might be ill or seems to have symptoms of swine flu one must use a facemask or a respirator to prevent the spread of pandemic flu.
  2. Wash the hands properly with hot water to stop the spread of the virus.
  3. Avoid going to public places.
  4. Stay away from affected person.
  5. Get a regular seasonal flu vaccination.
  6. Cover the mouth while coughing or sneezing.
  7. Stay at home in case we are sick.
  8. Consult the doctor if any symptoms occur.
  9. Burn the face mask after after use.
  10. Stay at home if you are ill.

Steps taken by the government to prevent swine flu at airport:-

  1. The passengers flying in from an international location are given a form to fill at the airport.
  2. Passengers flying from USA, Mexico, New Zealand, China, Italy and United Kingdom are specially examined for the swine flu symptoms.
  3. The passengers observed with any symptoms are immediately given face masks and sent to hospitals.

First death in India due to swine flu:-

The first death in India due to swine flu was of a 14year old girl Rida Sheikh on 4th august 2009 in Pune.She was a student of class IX from St Anne's High School Pune and she was the first to show the symptoms of H1N1 infection. The symptoms were sore throat, running nose and headache. The symptoms were first observed on 21st July 2009. she consulted a general physician and her condition improved. Then on 23rd she joined her school. Then on 25th she again developed fever and then she consulted another doctor but her fever continued and then she was admitted to the Jahangir Hospital on 27th July. Her samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology. On July 31 and the result were found to be positive for swine flu. She was given Tami flu on 30th July. But her condition went on deteriorating and she died on 3rd august 2009. And this was the first death in the country due to H1N1 virus.

Total death in India due to swine flu-

About 555 people in India have died due to swine flu till 23rd November 2009.

Total people affected by swine flu in India-

More than 15000 people have been affected by swine flu till 23rd November 2009 in India

Recent case of swine flu in India:-

Narendra modi the chief minister of Gujarat was tested positive for swine flu after he returned from Russia on 29th October. His sample was taken for test after the symptoms of cough, cold and fever were observed in him. He has been kept in an isolation ward at his residence, where a team of doctors are attending him .All his public functions have been cancelled.


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