Influenza A (H1N1) outbreak - edited

Swine flu: What it is, how to fight it
By Liz Szabo, USA TODAY

It’s a common respiratory ailment in pigs, but this strain appears to bea subtype never before seen in pigs or humans. Here are answers to questions you may have about swine flu.

Q: What is swine flu?

A: It’s a common respiratory disease in pigs that doesn’t usually spread to people. When pigs catch this flu, many get quite sick, and 1% to 4% die, according to the World Health Organization. In the past, people have sometimes caught swine flu if they worked directly with pigs.

Q: How is this swine flu virus different?

A: This strain appears to be a subtype not seen before in humans or pigs, with genetic material from pigs, bird and humans, according to WHO. Unlike most cases of swine flu, this one can spread from person to person, said Richard Besser, the acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at a White House press conference Sunday. One of the confirmed cases in the USA caught swine flu from a spouse, who had been to Mexico.

Q: Were pigs the carriers of this virus?

A: It’s closer to say that pigs were the mixing bowl for this virus. Birds can’t pass bird flu to people. But pigs are uniquely susceptible to getting flu viruses that infect birds. Experts have long worried that a pig would catch a bird strain of the flu and then the virus would mutate inside the pig to a form that could also infect other mammals. That may be what happened in this case. Pigs can also be infected with more than one influenza virus at a time, allowing the viruses to share genes, called “genetic reassortment,” creating new and potentially much more virulent viruses.

Q: Can you catch swine flu from eating pork?

A: No, according to WHO. Pigs coming in to slaughter facilities are monitored for flu symptoms, and those that are ill are not allowed to enter the food supply. Cooking also kills the virus. People who work with pigs, however, can catch the virus. The Department of Agriculture is conducting tests to confirm that the food supply is safe, said Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Q: Is there a vaccine against swine flu?

A: No, but government scientists could try to create one, according to the CDC. “We’ve identified the virus,” Besser said. “Should we decide to manufacture a vaccine, we can work toward that goal very quickly.” CDC scientists don’t know if this year’s flu vaccine offers any protection.

Q: What about antivirals? Can they prevent swine flu?

A: This strain of swine flu does appear sensitive to the antiviral drugs Relenza and Tamiflu, but not to amantadine, or Symmetrel, and rimantadine, or Flumadine, Besser said. With normal seasonal flus, if taken within the first 48 hours after symptoms appear, antivirals can help people recover a day or two sooner. Doctors sometimes prescribe antivirals to household members of people with the flu to prevent them from getting sick.

Q: What are the symptoms?

A: The most common symptoms are fever, fatigue, lack of appetite and coughing, although some people also develop a runny nose, sore throat, vomiting or diarrhea, according to the CDC.

Q: What should you do if you have these symptoms?

A: Stay home from work or school, to avoid spreading your illness to other people, Besser said. Don’t get on an airplane. People should call their doctors to ask about the best treatment, but should not simply show up at a clinic or hospital that is unprepared for their arrival.

Q: How can people protect themselves?

A: As always, people should wash their hands frequently, Besser said. In the past, the CDC has said there isn’t conclusive evidence to support using face masks. Surgical masks are designed to prevent the wearer from spreading germs, but may also catch large respiratory droplets if someone sneezes nearby. In a 2007 statement, the CDC said these masks could be worn if someone needs to go to a crowded place, such as a grocery store, for a short time. N95 respirator masks filter out 95% of particles to prevent the wearer from breathing them in. These must be fitted properly around the nose to create a seal, so they can make breathing difficult.

Q: What does it mean for the government to declare a public health emergency?

A: While the declaration “sounds more severe than it is,” Napolitano said Sunday, it will free up funds and allow health officials to use medications and tests that aren’t normally used. The government also issued a public health declaration during recent floods in North Dakota and Minnesota, she said, and noted that the government often issues such declarations when hurricanes are approaching. The federal government is also releasing 25% of the 50 million doses of antiviral medications in the nation’s Strategic National Stockpile, Napolitano said. The Department of Defense is also making 7 million doses available.

Q: Why has the virus been so much deadlier in Mexico, where 1,300 have become ill and more than 80 people have died, than in the USA?

A: “What we’ve seen in this country is not anywhere near the severity of what we’re seeing in Mexico,” Besser said. Doctors don’t yet know why cases have been milder in the USA, where only person has been hospitalized, although 20 cases have been confirmed, Besser said.

More information is available at

Contributing: Elizabeth Weise … wers_N.htm

Developments on swine flu worldwide

By The Associated Press 28 minutes ago

Key developments Sunday on swine flu outbreaks:

_ Deaths: 103, all in Mexico. 22 confirmed as swine flu, 81 suspected.

_ Sickened: 1,614 in Mexico, suspected or confirmed; 20 confirmed in U.S.; 6 confirmed in Canada; 13 suspected in New Zealand; 7 suspected in Spain; 1 suspected in France; 1 suspected in Israel; 1 suspected in Brazil.

_ Locations in Mexico: 17 states, including Mexico City, Mexico State, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Baja California and San Luis Potosi. Some, including Oaxaca, Mexico City and Baja California, have tourist areas, but authorities have not said where in these states the outbreaks occurred.

_ Locations in U.S.: 8 in New York, 7 in California, 2 in Kansas, 2 in Texas and 1 in Ohio.

_ Safety measures in Mexico: In Mexico City, surgical masks given to subway passengers, public events canceled, schools and public venues closed and church services postponed. President Felipe Calderon has assumed new powers to isolate infected people. World Bank is providing Mexico with more than $200 million in loans to help with the outbreak.

_ Safety measures in U.S: Roughly 12 million doses of Tamiflu being moved from federal stockpile to be delivered to states. Travelers at border asked about travel to flu-stricken areas. St. Francis Preparatory School in New York City, where eight cases are confirmed, closed Monday and Tuesday. St. Mel’s Catholic School in Fair Oaks, Calif., closed until at least Thursday as officials investigate possible infection of seventh-grader. Fourteen schools in the Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City Independent School District in Texas, including high school where two cases are confirmed, closed for at least the next week.

_ Safety measures worldwide: Airports screening travelers from Mexico and United States for flu symptoms. China, Russia, Taiwan and Bolivia plan to put anyone with symptoms under quarantine. Hong Kong and South Korea warn against travel to Mexico City and three provinces. Italy, Poland and Venezuela advised citizens to postpone travel to affected areas of Mexico and the United States. Some countries increasing screening of pigs and pork imports or banning them outright.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. … AD97QHT780


when it comes to Sarawak it will spread faster than those places

so many diseases here already, maybe this will combine with HMFD and dengue then a supervirus will be born here

when it comes to Sarawak it will spread faster than those places

so many diseases here already, maybe this will combine with HMFD and dengue then a supervirus will be born here

when it comes to Sarawak it will spread faster than those places

so many diseases here already, maybe this will combine with HMFD and dengue then a supervirus will be born here

Yes it is. With the economy in such a bad situation, another health outbreak is a bad timing.

It’s SARS all over again! So helpless!

KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 (Bernama) – Malaysia has the vaccine for swine flu which can be used to stop the spread of the disease to this country.

Veterinary Services director-general Datuk Dr Abd Aziz Jamaluddin said the H1N1 vaccine should be injected into pigs as a preventive measure following reports of 81 people killed by the swine flu in Mexico.

He told Bernama that the department was only waiting for the directive from the Health Ministry to carry out vaccination on the livestock.

He believed that the H1N1 vaccine was also used by pig farms in other countries as a preventive measure against swine flu.

Dr Abd Aziz also disclosed that Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had issued a directive to all State Veterinary Services directors to monitor pig farms in their respective states as a precaution and to report on any sign of swine flu infection.


“Stern action will be taken against them if they fail to do this. They must also ensure that all the pig breeders follow instructions like their workers must wear masks,” he said.

Dr Abd Aziz said state livestock breeders’ associations were required to cooperate with the Veterinary Services Department by reporting on any symptom of swine flu.

“If their workers have similar symptoms for influenza, high fever, sore throat and body aches, they must be given leave and undergo medical examination immediately.”

Dr Abd Aziz said so far the department had not received any report of swine flu symptoms in the country, while the disease also had the potential of being spread to birds but the possibility was remote.

“If avian flu can spread through food like by eating chicken, swine flu cannot be spread by eating pork but through human contact,” he said.

More information on the swine flu can be obtained by calling 03-88810200 or 03-88810300, or by visiting website


WASHINGTON - A never-before-seen strain of swine flu has turned killer in Mexico and is causing milder illness in the United States and elsewhere. While authorities say it’s not time to panic, they are taking steps to stem the spread and also urging people to pay close attention to the latest health warnings and take their own precautions.

“Individuals have a key role to play,” Dr. Richard Besser, acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday.

Here’s what you need to know:

Q: How do I protect myself and my family?

A: For now, take commonsense precautions. Cover your coughs and sneezes, with a tissue that you throw away or by sneezing into your elbow rather than your hand. Wash hands frequently; if soap and water aren’t available, hand gels can substitute. Stay home if you’re sick and keep children home from school if they are.

Q: How easy is it to catch this virus?

A: Scientists don’t yet know if it takes fairly close or prolonged contact with someone who’s sick, or if it’s more easily spread. But in general, flu viruses spread through uncovered coughs and sneezes or and this is important by touching your mouth or nose with unwashed hands. Flu viruses can live on surfaces for several hours, like a doorknob just touched by someone who sneezed into his hand.

Q: In Mexico, officials are handing out face masks. Do I need one?

A: The CDC says there’s not good evidence that masks really help outside of health care settings. It’s safer just to avoid close contact with someone who’s sick and avoid crowded gatherings in places where swine flu is known to be spreading. But if you can’t do that, CDC guidelines say it’s OK to consider a mask just don’t let it substitute for good precautions.

Q: Is swine flu treatable?

A: Yes, with the flu drugs Tamiflu or Relenza, but not with two older flu medications.

Q: Is there enough?

A: Yes. The federal government has stockpiled enough of the drugs to treat 50 million people, and many states have additional stocks. As a precaution, the CDC has shipped a quarter of that supply to the states to keep on hand just in case the virus starts spreading more than it has so far.

Q: Should I take Tamiflu as a precaution if I’m not sick yet?

A: No. “What are you going to do with it, use it when you get a sniffle?” asks Dr. Marc Siegel of New York University Langone Medical Center and author of “Bird Flu: Everything you Need To Know About The Next Pandemic.” Overusing antiviral drugs can help germs become resistant to them.

Q: How big is my risk?

A: For most people, very low. Outside of Mexico, so far clusters of illnesses seem related to Mexican travel. New York City’s cluster, for instance, consists of students and family members at one school where some students came back ill from spring break in Mexico.

Q: Why are people dying in Mexico and not here?

A: That’s a mystery. First, understand that no one really knows just how many people in Mexico are dying of this flu strain, or how many have it. Only a fraction of the suspected deaths have been tested and confirmed as swine flu, and some initially suspected cases were caused by something else.

Q: Should I cancel my planned trip to Mexico?

A: The U.S. did issue a travel advisory Monday discouraging nonessential travel there.

Q: What else is the U.S., or anyone else, doing to try to stop this virus?

A: The U.S. is beginning limited screening of travelers from Mexico, so that the obviously sick can be sent for treatment. Other governments have issued their own travel warnings and restrictions. Mexico is taking the biggest steps, closings that limit most crowded gatherings. In the U.S., communities with clusters of illness also may limit contact New York closed the affected school for a few days, for example so stay tuned to hear if your area eventually is affected.

Q: What are the symptoms?

A: They’re similar to regular human flu a fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also have diarrhea and vomiting.

Q: How do I know if I should see a doctor? Maybe my symptoms are from something else like pollen?

A: Health authorities say if you live in places where swine flu cases have been confirmed, or you recently traveled to Mexico, and you have flulike symptoms, ask your doctor if you need treatment or to be tested. Allergies won’t cause a fever. And run-of-the-mill stomach bugs won’t be accompanied by respiratory symptoms, notes Dr. Wayne Reynolds of Newport News, Va., spokesman for the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Q: Is there a vaccine to prevent this new infection?

A: No. And CDC’s initial testing suggests that last winter’s flu shot didn’t offer any cross-protection.

Q: How long would it take to produce a vaccine?

A: A few months. The CDC has created what’s called “seed stock” of the new virus that manufacturers would need to start production. But the government hasn’t yet decided if the outbreak is bad enough to order that.

Q: What is swine flu?

A: Pigs spread their own strains of influenza and every so often people catch one, usually after contact with the animals. This new strain is a mix of pig viruses with some human and bird viruses. Unlike more typical swine flu, it is spreading person-to-person. A 1976 outbreak of another unusual swine flu at Fort Dix, N.J., prompted a problematic mass vaccination campaign, but that time the flu fizzled out.

[b]Q: So is it safe to eat pork?

A: Yes. Swine influenza viruses don’t spread through food.[/b]

Q: And whatever happened to bird flu? Wasn’t that supposed to be the next pandemic?

A: Specialists have long warned that the issue is a never-before-seen strain that people have little if any natural immunity to, regardless of whether it seems to originate from a bird or a pig. Bird flu hasn’t gone away; scientists are tracking it, too.


What is swine influenza?

It is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A strains of the influenza virus. It regularly causes high flu outbreaks in pigs but with low death rates. There are four main sub-types of the virus, but the most recent isolated influenza viruses from pigs have been H1N1 viruses.

How does it spread?

Swine flu viruses do not typically infect humans though they do occur through close proximity or contact with infected pigs or contaminated areas. Cases of human-to-human spread have been documented.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms are similar to those of regular flu:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea in some cases.

How common is swine flu infection in humans?

In the past reports of about one human swine flu virus infection had been received every one to two years in the United States. From December 2005 till February 2009, 12 cases have been reported.

Has this strain of flu been seen before?

No. Flu mutates constantly, so it is common for new strains to emerge. Pigs can also be infected with both human and avian influenza, and the current circulating swine flu strain appears to contain genetic elements from all three.

Can swine flu be treated with antiviral drugs and flu vaccine?

The swine flu is resistant to two common drugs Amantadine and Rimantadine. The H1N1 swine flu viruses are very different from human H1N1 viruses. Therefore, vaccines for human seasonal flu would not provide protection. However, a seed vaccine has been specifically tailored to this swine flu and will be manufactured if officials deem it necessary.

Can people catch swine flu by eating pork?

No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 70C and above kills the swine flu virus.

How long is someone with swine flu considered contagious?

People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic; possibly for up to seven days following the onset of the illness. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.

What can I do to protect myself from the swine flu?

There is no vaccine available right now to protect against the swine flu.

However, you can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza by:

  • Covering your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or handkerchief when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the waste basket after you use it.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also helpful

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people. - If you get sick with influenza, stay at home and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

  • Consult your nearest healthcare facility if you think you have any of the symptoms.

Which countries have had cases of the swine flu?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed human cases of swine flu in Mexico, the United States, Canada and Spain. Only Mexico has reported deaths from the new strain.

Are there any travel restrictions or advisories for Malaysians?

The Health Ministry on April 27 advised Malaysians against travelling to certain places in the United States, Mexico and Canada which have been affected by the swine flu.

What precautions are in place in Malaysia?

  • The Health Ministrys operations room in Putrajaya has started a 24-hour monitoring of the situation. The public can call 03-8881 0200/300 for enquiries.

  • Those returning from Latin American countries and found to have flu-like symptoms will be quarantined.

  • Health Ministry officials are conducting health screenings on passengers arriving from the United States.

  • Thermal scanners will be placed at international airports to speed up the screening process for swine flu.

  • Public and private medical practitioners have been instructed to report to the district health office any patient with influenza-like illnesses or severe pneumonia symptoms and who had travelled to the affected countries after April 17.

  • Owners of the 797 pig farms nationwide have been ordered to immediately contact the nearest Veterinary Services Department office or the Animal Disease Control Centre if their workers or animals show symptoms linked to the swine flu.

Where can I get more information?

For more information, go to the Health Ministry ( or call the Ministry’s hotline at (03) 8881-0200/300.


hmmm… terrible …

Am wondering how pig catch flu virus? Do they sneeze and having runny nose?

[size=150]Chinese Version

[center]MINISTRY OF HEALTH[/center]

  1. ?

(swine influenza)





Crisis Preparedness and
Response Centre 03-88810200 03-88810300[/size]

Scary, viruses such as one in I Am Legend is not impossible?

But pig flu is better than ‘pigheaded’.

Sry for a lasap post

haiyaaa…very scary…now n then we heard bout the disease tat comes frm the other country

hopefully not as virulent as the other accredited ‘swine’ flu, sharing the same H1N1 type strain… which was called the Spanish Flu.

estimated at being responsible for between 20 million & 100 million deaths between 1918-1920.
noted, for it unusally taking out all the young/fit/ & healthy adults, due to their over-reactive immune systems (effectively self-destructing).

common flu accredited with a 0.1% mortality rate, the swine flu thought to be 2%.
a lot of people, if it goes global.

sniffff! time to start eating the veges perhaps…

hopefully they can get the vacine ready as soon as possible…
this virus sound fishy la…maybe ppl create it and release it…
after a while, they will release the vacine…then they make profit…
aii…nowdays, anything can happen…

I’ve heard from the KKM site … they started to do a prevention on this matters just for precaution …
it almost spread into Singapore that is what I’ve heard from TV3 news

Update. It’s getting closer to home so take every precaution to prevent it spreading further. We should practice proper personal hygiene everytime, everyday.

Swine-Flu Spreads to Asia Pacific as Malaysia Seeks Travel Ban

By Simeon Bennett

April 29 (Bloomberg) – Swine flu was confirmed in New Zealand and suspected cases were found in at least four nations in the Asia-Pacific region, where some governments are calling for trade and travel bans to stem the spread of the virus.

Malaysia asked the World Health Organization to ban outbound travel from Mexico, while South Korea, China, Indonesia and the Philippines barred or restricted imports of pork products from North America. The Geneva-based WHO doesnt advise travel restrictions as that wont stop the spread of the virus, and said people cant get swine flu from eating well-cooked pork.

Some governments in Asia, the region worst affected by previous outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome and avian flu, are overreacting to the threat of swine flu, said John MacKenzie, a virus tracker who led an international team investigating an outbreak of SARS in China in 2003.

Malaysias proposal is ridiculous, MacKenzie said. Countries demanding travel restrictions are doing so without evidence it would mitigate the spread of the disease, he said.

Swine flu results in symptoms similar to regular human influenza such as fever, lethargy and coughing, and may also cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mexican authorities today raised the toll of suspected swine flu-related deaths to 159 while revising down the number of confirmed deaths to seven from 20.

First Confirmed Cases

New Zealand confirmed 14 cases of swine flu in Auckland, its biggest city, up from 11 yesterday. Theyre the only definite infections in the Asia-Pacific region. A further five cases are suspected, said Julia Peters, Aucklands regional public health team leader.

Australia is testing 90 people for swine flu, and authorities are searching for 15 people who were on a plane from Mexico two days ago, Health Minister Nicola Roxon said. The nation also said it will disinfect planes and quarantine people who show symptoms of the disease.

Singapore referred 17 people with flu-like symptoms for medical assessment, the Ministry of Health said yesterday. Of those, four have tested negative for swine flu and there were no confirmed cases of the virus in the city-state, it said. The ministry raised its alert from green to yellow yesterday, the second level on a five-color system.

The citys National University Hospital distributed a memo to inpatients families today advising them that children under 12 wont be allowed to visit patients in the hospital.

Malaysias Request

Malaysias government asked the WHO today to ban outbound travel from Mexico to stop the spread of swine flu.

We have spoken to WHO officials and asked them to stop those in Mexico leaving the country, Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai said.

Japan said yesterday it will suspend visa-free entry for Mexican nationals and advise its own citizens to defer trips to the Latin American nation. Mexicans will have to provide a doctors note and fill in a health form to obtain a visa.

Taiwans government is monitoring the situation and may order state-controlled funds to buy stocks in the market as the swine flu outbreak worsens, Finance Minister Lee Sush-der said by telephone today. The government controls five funds, including the National Stabilization Fund that was created in 2000 with NT$500 billion ($15 billion).

The islands government yesterday raised its travel alert for Mexico to red, the highest of three levels, meaning citizens are advised against visiting the country. Taiwan will require passengers to be screened on flights from Canada and the U.S. and their health status reported before being allowed to land.

Schools, Quarantine Camps

Hong Kong will close schools and set up quarantine camps if swine flu spreads in the community, the South China Morning Post reported, citing Secretary for Food and Health York Chow.

Schools would be closed if one or more cases were found and the disease looked as though it was spreading, the newspaper cited Chow as saying. The Lady MacLehose Holiday Village, which was used as a quarantine centre during the SARS outbreak in 2003, is being prepared for a possible outbreak.

The city is testing four people for swine flu after they exhibited symptoms and had been in areas where the virus has been confirmed, Thomas Tsang, controller at Hong Kongs Centre for Health Protection, said yesterday. Three other people were tested this week, and none had the virus.

A South Korean woman classified as a probable case of swine flu yesterday is healthy and may recover, Yonhap News reported, citing a health ministry official it didnt identify. The country yesterday raised its national disaster rating to yellow from the lowest level of blue.

Pig Ban

South Korea will suspend imports of live hogs from North America starting today, the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said. The government will inspect all shipments of the animals from other regions for the virus.

The country joins China, Indonesia and the Philippines among Asian nations curbing pork imports in defiance of WHO advice that swine flu cant be transmitted by eating pork.

You dont catch influenza from pork, said MacKenzie, a professorial fellow at Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Australia. Thats a very silly gut reaction.

In Thailand, initial test results on a 42-year-old woman suspected of having swine flu were negative, Kamnuan Ungchoosak, an official at the Health Ministrys Disease Control Department, said yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Simeon Bennett in Singapore at
Last Updated: April 29, 2009 01:16 EDT … efer=home#