What is Swine Flu in simple terms?

Swine flu also known as swine influenza is a disease of pigs. Swine flu is a highly contagious respiratory disease that infects pigs & caused by one of many Influenza A viruses. There is a regular outbreak of swine flu in pigs that make them ill but rarely die from the virus. It is spread among pigs by direct & indirect contacts, aerosols & from pigs that are infected but don’t have symptoms.

Swine flu doesn’t normally infect human being although this does occasionally happen when people have had close contact with pigs. But the current ‘swine flu’ outbreak is different. It's caused by a new swine flu virus that has changed in ways that allow it to spread from person to person & it's happening among people who haven't had any contact with pigs. That makes it a human flu virus.

There is evidence that swine flu is spreading from person to person, which could lead to what is called a ‘pandemic flu outbreak.’ Pandemic flu is different from ordinary flu because it is a new strain of the virus that appears in humans and spreads quickly from person to person worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) is closely monitoring cases of swine flu to see how it develops.


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