Is swine flu dangerous to humans?

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Is swine flu dangerous to humans?


Swine influenza is an infectious disease of pigs caused by the influenza virus. The H1N2 virus is one of the main subtypes of the swine influenza virus. Sometimes people are also infected with the H1N2 swine flu virus. This usually occurs after direct or indirect exposure to pigs or contaminated environments. Since 2005, approximately fifty cases of H1N2 transmission to humans have been reported. Most of these infections caused mild symptoms, but some cases turned out to be serious.

What is swine flu?

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Swine flu is caused by the type A influenza virus. There are different types of influenza viruses that can cause swine flu. H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2 are the main subtypes of swine influenza A viruses found in pigs.

The Netherlands witnesses regular outbreaks of swine flu among pigs. Some influenza viruses can be transmitted from pigs to humans, although this is not common. This is usually only seen in people who often come into contact with pigs.

Read also: Swine flu: what you should definitely know about the Mexican flu

Symptoms of swine flu in humans

Infection with the swine flu virus appears in the form of flu-like symptoms, such as:

  • Fever
  • cold
  • cough
  • Sore throat
  • headache
  • Muscle strain
  • exhaustion
Complaints are usually mild and disappear on their own after one to two weeks. For people with underlying conditions, the virus can be more dangerous — just as with seasonal flu.

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Read also: How dangerous is influenza?

How do you get swine flu?

People are not often infected with the swine flu virus. Over the past 20 years, a few cases of this virus have emerged by chance. These are the people who often deal with pigs.

You can reduce the risk of contamination by implementing hygiene measures, such as washing hands after contact with pigs and not eating near pigs. The virus is only present in the pig’s respiratory tract, not in pork. So you cannot get the virus by eating pork. Pigs infected with swine flu are not killed.

Read also: What is better for disinfecting your hands: soap or antiseptic gel?

Is swine flu dangerous?

Human-to-human transmission can occur, but this is very rare. “However, cases of swine flu in humans are always investigated, because in very rare cases, a new influenza virus can emerge that can make people sick,” the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment wrote on its website.

This happened, for example, in 2009, probably in South America. It has caused a pandemic with the influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus, often called Mexican influenza. Swine flu also caused deaths in Belgium. The swine flu viruses that have appeared among people in our region in recent years are not related to this virus.

Read also: Mexican influenza (swine flu): most frequently asked questions

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Last updated: November 2023

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Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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