Swine flu or H1N1 flu virus is a respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses infecting pigs but affects humans after mutations. Most humans who contracted the virus were in direct with pigs or those living close to the animal.
In 2009, there was a swine flu outbreak, first observed in Mexico, that was later declared as a pandemic. However, in 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the H1N1 pandemic over.
Concerns over the flu continue as a 23-year-old pregnant woman died on Saturday after contracting the virus in Hyderabad, local media reports said. The woman, identified as Bhavani Siripuram, was admitted to the hospital in a critical condition on July 26 and was on life support. The 7-month pregnant woman died after receiving treatment for three days at the hospital.
Two other swine flu cases were also reported at the hospital, and local reports said that both the patients remain in critical condition.
Earlier this month, reports of several cases in New Delhi were also reported. On July 21, a 25-year-old man died due to the virus, while a 65-year-old lost his life to the flu in April.
Meanwhile, five new cases of swine flu were reported in the city of Surat, Gujrat, after a death was reported earlier.
With increasing cases of swine flu in India, here are some facts, symptoms and treatment for the swine influenza.
Swine flu transmission usually occurs from person to person, not animal to person. Eating properly cooked pork products reduces the chances of catching swine flu. Those affected by swine flu can transmit it to other people via saliva and mucus particles.
Symptoms of swine flu include, severe chills, fever, coughing, sore throat, runny nose, body pain, fatigue, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
In case of the above symptoms, it is advised to visit a doctor. Within the first few days of symptoms, doctors usually prescribe antiviral drugs oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza).
There is an H1N1 influenza virus vaccine available to prevent the infection, and can be used by adults and children who are at least 6 months old.
This year alone, hundreds have already died in India of the swine flu virus, while thousands of cases, many in critical conditions, have been receiving treatment.