Swine Flu Information

Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza that regularly cause outbreaks of influenza among pigs.

Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans, however, human infections with swine flu do occur, and cases of human-to-human spread of swine flu viruses has been documented.

From December 2005 through February 2009, a total of 12 human infections with swine influenza were reported from 10 states in the United States. Since March 2009, a number of confirmed human cases of a new strain of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection in California, Texas, and Mexico have been identified.

Human Swine Influenza Investigation

April 25, 2009 19:30 EDT

Human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection have been identified in the U.S. in San Diego County and Imperial County, California as well as in San Antonio, Texas. Internationally, human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection have been identified in Mexico.

U.S. Human Cases of Swine Flu Infection
State # of laboratory confirmed cases
California 7 cases
Texas 2 cases
Kansas 2 cases
TOTAL COUNT 11 cases
International Human Cases of Swine Flu Infection
See: World Health Organization

Last Updated: As of April 25th, 2009 7:30 p.m. EDT

Investigations are ongoing to determine the source of the infection and whether additional people have been infected with similar swine influenza viruses.

CDC is working very closely with state and local officials in California, Texas, as well as with health officials in Mexico, Canada and the World Health Organization. On April 24th, CDC deployed 7 epidemiologists to San Diego County, California and Imperial County, California and 1 senior medical officer to Texas to provide guidance and technical support for the ongoing epidemiologic field investigations. CDC has also deployed to Mexico 1 medical officer and 1 senior expert who are part of a global team that is responding to the outbreak of respiratory illnesses in Mexico.

Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people. There are many things you can to do preventing getting and spreading influenza:

There are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

  • Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
  • If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Source: Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Comments

  1. quiact says

    Over 100 years ago, a Russian histologist suggested stem cells be applied for scientific research.

    They are the human body’s equivalent of a generator, as they can renew, regenerate, and replicate under the right conditions.

    The apex of cellular therapy and regenerative/reparative medicine has been reborn after an 8 year moratorium that basically halted federal funding for stem cell research with most states in the U.S.

    Now the NIH can award grants to scientists involved with biomedical research involving stem cell therapy through the CMS to each state in the U.S.

    While never banned, stem cell research had limited funding during this time. And this was unfortunate, because there are several likely uses of stem cells.

    These uses include the replacement of tissues in the human body, as well as repairing cell types that are defective.

    Also, stem cells can deliver genetic therapies that are needed in certain patients.

    ESCs are totiplotent if obtained from the morula which is a pre-blastocyst stage. Normally, the stem cells are acquired from the blastocyst itself.

    From this source, the stem cells can be any cell in the human body except for the placenta, and are pluripotent.

    Embryonic stem cells are obtained from a 4 day old embryo called a blastocyst, and are pluripotent from this source.

    The blastocyst contains about 100 cells, and is not suitable at this stage for implantation into the uterine wall.

    The inner core of the blastocyst has about 20 cells, and this is where stem cells are obtained.

    These cells are unspecialized cells that can be developed or morphed into the over 200 cells available in the human body through differentiation, as ESCs are undifferentiated by nature.

    As such, they can become any human cell, as long as they are prevented from clumping or crowding together when explanted into cultures as they are propagated. After stem cells are cultured, they are moved to what are called stem lines.

    Until recently, ESCs were believed to be most beneficial instead of the adult stem cell alternative (ASC), as these stem cells are limited to application to the tissue the stem cells were obtained from only.

    However ASCs (somatic stem cells) now can be coerced into differentiation through plasticity (trans-differentiation).

    This likely will reduce if not eliminate those opposed to stem cell therapy because of moral and ethical reasons related to the utilization of ESCs.

    Thanks to molecular biology, four transcription factors control the transfer of genetic information from DNA to RNAS to regulate gene expression. So ASCs can have the same beneficial qualities as ESCs.

    In the past, viral vectors and exotic genes interfered with the purity of ASCs. Now ASCs are re-programmed using plasmids instead of viruses and oncogenes that can become detrimental for the patient treated.

    So now, ASCs can safely become induced pluripotent cells with the same potential as ESCs. As a result, the ASCs are free of genetic artifacts that potentially can interfere with transgene sequences.

    They are capable of, and are able to renew and reproduce with minimal effort, stem cells, under the right laboratory conditions.

    Human blood can be reproduced with stem cells under the right conditions, it has been shown by researchers.

    SCT can also be used to investigate disease states for better treatment options.

    Disease-specific stem cell lines, which are those cells that are pluripotent and are created with the same genetic errors of certain diseases, are studied for this reason.

    So there clearly is a huge potential for stem cell-based therapies. The first FDA approved clinical trial occurred early in 2009.

    This human trial will involve evaluating primarily the safety of ESCs designed to be used as treatment for spinal cord injury patients. The trial was submitted by Geron Corp.

    Pfizer, the largest drug company, has implemented stem cell research, as they are an asset to drug discovery by creating within the organization a regenerative medicine unit.

    Other large pharma companies are implemented similar research protocols for the same reasons.

    Geron Corp. in California is the world’s leading esc developer, and financed researchers at Univ. of Wisconsin, who isolated the first human esc in 1998.

    Stem cell therapy potentially can cure multiple sclerosis, among other disases and those with damaged human tissue.

    The therapy prevents the advancement of disease, as well as reverses the neurological dysfunctions associated with MS. Patients are injected with their own stem cells obtained from their bone marrow, which are called haemopoietic stem cells.

    These particular stem cells are the origin of all blood cells. Further large clinical trials are needed to support these results. Studies have shown between 70 and 80 percent of MS patients who received stem cell therapy did not relapse afterwards.

    Allogenic, or donor transplants, have a risk of graft versus host disease. Autologous, which is the patient’s own stem cells, are preferable and most beneficial.

    Similar results from this autologous bone marrow transplant cellular therapy are seen with Chron’s disease as well.

    During the procedure, the immune system is reset so it is not in an autoimmune state where it attacks the human body. The process lasts about 2 months, and consists of 6phases:

    1. Initial chemo
    2. Release of stem cells
    3. Acquisition of stem cells
    4. Cells are then frozen until ready for transplant
    5. Second chemo to reduce leukocytes
    6. Autologous stem-cell transplant. Immune system is reset.

    Positive results from stem cell therapy are seen usually within a month, and patients can request another treatment about 6 months after the first treatment presently.

    This stem cell paradigm of therapy addresses the etiology of a disease state, instead of focusing on the symptoms only. As such, this is the practice of regenerative medicine with the implementation of SCT.

    Some believe ethical restraints are needed regarding the use of ESCs for therapeutic reasons. Yet they improve the quality of life of those with devastating diseases which involves suffering without any relief.

    So stem cell therapy and research may be the most right and ethical thing to do for such patients. Not only is the tremedous suffering relieved with those possessed with devistating diseases, their functional ability is restored for those who receive stem cell therapy.

    Embryos are acquired from fertility clinics (IVFs) that have thousands routinely stored and are abnormally fertilized. This means that they could never go on to become a human, and would be destroyed otherwise.

    Ironically, one could argue it is inappropriate to discard what may be valuable and ethical for others, potentially.

    Most couples with frozen embryos would gladly give them to such research, surveys have concluded.

    These embryos are believed by many to not be morally equivalent to human life, but only have the potential for life. And they are used for therapeutic cloning, known as somatic cell nuclear transfer, and not reproductive cloning.

    Ten states have banned this cloning out of ignorance, it seems. Bioethic principles, which are beneficience, or physician-centered decisions, as well as non-maleficence, which is first do no harm, are not corrupted.

    Furthermore, autonomy, which is the patient’s right to determine their health, and justice or fairness remain intact.

    Stem cells should be utilized for those terminally ill as well, many believe. Many are seeking stem cell therapy overseas due to restrictions that exist in the U.S. presently. The United Kingdom is believed to be the leader in stem cell research presently.

    Dan Abshear

  2. healthuk says

    Swine flu has been around for many months and it seems the media failed to create a havoc this time in this case. We are safe because NHS has enough supply of vaccine for half the population.

  3. quiact says

    Virus is a Latin word, meaning ‘poison’. A virus is more of a very well organized molecular parasite than an actual life form, such as bacteria.

    The virus cannot grow or reproduce without a host cell. That means it needs a bird or mammal, such as humans, in order to exist and thrive. And the virus has the potential to completely destroy the host in the process in order to exist.

    The influenza viruses are of what are called orthomyxoviruses, which is a group or family of RNA viruses that are categorized into A, B, and C. The Influenza A virus is the one that historically has caused pandemics that have developed in the past.

    About eighty percent of flu cases in the U.S. are type A influenza viruses. Influenza vaccinations are the only available method of prevention at this time from the potentially deadly effects of influenza.

    Influenza is the virus responsible for the disease that has its name, and it is spread easily to other humans. This virus can be deadly to a greater degree when the virus creates a pandemic, which did happen in the United States and other parts of the world less than 100 years ago.

    Other influenza pandemics primarily have occurred in countries in Asia.

    For an influenza pandemic to occur, which means a global disease existence and presence, the virus must emerge from another species to humans without a strong immune system- as well as the ability to make more humans ill than normal due to the constant mutation of the influenza virus.

    Also, the virus must be highly contagious for a pandemic to occur. This particular virus that has been identified is just that.

    That pandemic caused around a half a million deaths in the United States alone. This event is now known as the Great Influenza Epidemic.

    Understandably there was panic among people worldwide, as the influenza virus itself was not identified until the year 1933, so the mystery was rather frightening of what was happening at that time. The etiology for the deaths that were happening so rapidly was complete mystery to everyone.

    Clearly, at times these influenza viruses are more dangerous than others, and this was one of the strains that clearly very most toxic during that particular epidemic. Presently, influenza is once again a very concerning sub-microscopic infectious agent, and we are their potential hosts in order for these viruses to survive.

    The potentially deadly effects of the influenza virus is due to this virus penetrating the host, such as a human being Once infected and established in the host, the virus replicates within the cell of the host in the cell’s cytoplasm.

    To survive, the influenza virus targets an enzyme called polymerase, which is what directs the content of this cell to produce proteins the virus needs to survive.

    Unlike coryza, influenza expresses symptoms more severely, and usually lasts two weeks until one recovers who has the flu. Influenza, however, poses a danger to some with compromised immune systems, such as the chronically ill, so the risk is greater in such populations, along with women who may be pregnant during the flu season, residents of nursing homes or chronic care facilities.

    If unprotected by an effective influenza vaccination given to such patient populations, influenza has a greater ability to penetrate hosts and create complications- such as bacterial pneumonia or encephalitis.

    Symptoms of influenza usually start to express themselves symptomatically about two days or so after being infected with the virus. Over 10 percent of the population is infected with this virus every year- resulting in about 200,000 hospitalizations and nearly 40,000 deaths.

    Those who do survive an influenza infection allow others to obtain antibodies from them to develop other antibodies for future viral outbreaks.

    The antibodies are used to produce vaccines to prevent acquisition of the damaging effects of influenza. Yet this is only if the antibodies contained in the influenza vaccine are effective against the suspected particular influenza strains that are present during the influenza season.

    Specifically, it is usually what is known as strept pneumo bacteria that kill those due to an infection of influenza, ultimately. This is the type of bacteria that typically infect a person suffering from influenza who may have compromised immune systems.

    In these cases, the bacteria are allowed to thrive at a higher and more deadly rate. If influenza occurs in a human host, the results may be the patient acquiring a bacterial infection such as these are possible.

    On average, it takes over a week for one to die after being infected by influenza that has the power to cause death in particular human populations.

    Pandemic flu outbreaks, such as the one that happened that was mentioned earlier was an influenza strain so powerful that it overkills the cells of its host.

    The influenza virus has this ability on occasion, and its efficacy is dependent on its mutations that have developed over time that make it more powerful than other influenza viruses.

    The flu vaccination is trivalent- meaning it contains three viral strains of suspected viruses for flu outbreaks during a particular winter season, as determined by the World Health Organization, as well as the Centers for Disease Control, and other organizations.

    Yet one should keep in mind that these three strains of influenza may not even exist in a particular flu season. The vaccination is a guess, at best, yet is certainly better than the absence of a flu vaccination.

    Unfortunately, the influenza vaccine administered last flu season was largely ineffective due to unsuspected strains of the virus infecting others.

    Although about 140 million injections of this vaccine were administered, this proved to be pointless for preventative medicine for influenza during this season. The most recent flu season was fairly mild, comparatively speaking.

    After giving the vaccination dose to one, it takes about 10 days for that person to build up the immunity for the disease of influenza.

    The months of October to December are recommended to receive this vaccine. And the vaccine is about 50 percent effective in offering protection from influenza, according to others, if one calculates the previous flu seasons with flu vaccinations.

    Vaccines are a catalyst for antibody production in humans, which protect them against the virus, if the influenza virus happens to present itself within them. The influenza vaccines can be given by injection or nasally.

    The flu season that is now occurring was supplied with 150 million vaccines in the United States. However, some studies have shown that this vaccine is rather ineffective based on incidences of the acquisition of the influenza virus by others, initial reports have indicated.

    The influenza season peaks between the months of January and March. The vaccine for this influenza season is manufactured by 6 different companies in preparation for this timeframe of the influenza season. Also, it takes manufacturers about 6 months to make and formulate the influenza vaccination.

    The influenza vaccine is produced every year according to which type of virus types that may be prevalent during a particular flu season. The presence of influenza can be widespread in certain states, yet not others.

    The vaccination is recommended to be administered to those who are at high risk, such as the chronically ill.

    Also, it is recommended that those under 18 years of age get the vaccine, as well as those people over the age of 50. Pregnant women should receive the immunization. Health care personnel are always encouraged to get a flu vaccine as well.

    Such populations of those recommended to receive the flu vaccination are those believed to need the protection the vaccine may offer the most.

    This is of concern, as influenza can progress rapidly into the more serious illnesses mentioned earlier that can lead to death.

    Anti-virals, on the other hand, decrease greatly the ability for viruses to reproduce once established in a human. That seems like it should be a focus during viral seasons instead of any vaccination that exist today regarding the disease of influenza.

    Yet, as with antibiotics, viruses can become resistant to anti-virals as well.

    Yet the strains chosen for the influenza vaccine contain what are speculated influenza viruses. So the vaccine is ineffective if a new and dominant influenza viral strain that possibly could cause a pandemic happens to be present during an influenza season.

    With the influenza virus, again it can have the ability to kill mammals, as well as birds, along with humans at times. The concern that there is an influenza strain that exists that has the ability to mutate.

    If this happens, the viruses have the ability to share genetic data between separate life forms as they, multiply within each one of them with ease.

    This is the case with what is known as the Avian flu, as well as the swine flu.

    The most recent avian influenza virus was identified in China in 1997. Called the H5N1 virus subtype, it has the potential to be the next flu pandemic. The virus responsible for the pandemic mentioned earlier was an avian influenza, which was called the H1N1 influenza virus.

    This virus, unlike the human influenza virus, has a longer incubation period- about 5 days. Also, H5N1 has the ability to mutate more rapidly, as well as replicate at a similar speed. Avian influenza viruses are highly pathogenic. No one fully understands the influenza virus and its rapid ability to mutate.

    This is because this particularly malicious virus is the result of two separate influenza viruses acquiring the same host at the same time.

    As a result of mutual sharing of genetic material between the two viruses, novel attributes are allowed to develop and create a H5N1 that obviously prove to be rather deadly.

    The H5N1 Avian influenza virus seems to have become progressively more pathogenic in the past decade, according to others. The letters H and N, by the way, stand for the antigens HA and NA-and are the letters of proteins that protrude from the viral shell.

    It is these proteins that mutate so often with the influenza virus, and which is why we continue to be infected with this virus.

    With the Avian Influenza existing with the H5N1 strain, millions of birds have been slaughtered due to the danger and unpredictability of this strain.

    The first recorded incidence of human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus was believed to be in Thailand in 2004.
    There have been outbreaks of Avian flu in about 15 countries in the world so far- with Indonesia being the worst. Migratory birds spread this influenza virus between continents.

    The pathogenic strength of the H5N1 strain varies due to constant re-assortment or switching of genetic material between the viruses- essentially creating hybrid modifications of what it was before this occurs due to this re-assortment that makes this virus much more virulent.

    So far, about 400 people worldwide have been infected with this strain- and about half have died from the infection caused by this H5N1 influenza virus.

    Vaccinations are being developed and reformulated constantly at this time due to the pandemic threat of the H5N1 Influenza virus.

    http://www.cdc.org/flu/weekly

    Dan Abshear

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