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General Influenza Facts
Type A Influenza H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) Information and Resources
What is H1N1 flu?
2009 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 the United States in April 2009. This virus is spreading from person-to-person worldwide, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread. On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) signaled that a pandemic of 2009 H1N1 flu was underway.
Why is 2009 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 (swine) 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 bird (avian) genes and human genes. Scientists call this a "quadruple reassortant" virus.
Type A Influenza A Virus Subtype H3N2 Flu (Swine Flu)
Some basic information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
In 2011, a specific H3N2 virus was detected with genes from avian, swine and human viruses and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus M gene. The virus was circulating in pigs in 2010 and was first detected in people in 2011.The acquisition of the 2009 M gene may make this virus infect humans more easily than is typical for other swine influenza viruses. There were 12 human infections with this virus, termed H3N2v, in 2011; most were associated with exposure to pigs. In 2012, H3N2v outbreaks in humans associated with exposure to pigs began in July.
How can a person catch a virus from a pig?
Influenza viruses can spread from pigs to people and from people to pigs. Spread from infected pigs to humans is thought to happen in the same way that seasonal influenza viruses spread between people; mainly through infected droplets created when an infected pig coughs or sneezes. If these droplets land in the nose or mouth, or are inhaled, a person can be infected. There also is some evidence that people can become infected by touching something that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose. A third possible way to get infected is to inhale dust containing influenza virus.
Avian Influenza A (H7N9) Virus
Related Information to Further Knowledge
Department of Health Services Reports First Human Cases of H3N2v Influenza