The swine flu outbreak in Mexico is caused by a deadly new strain, or variant, of a particular strain of influenza virus that is naturally occurring among pigs. This strain mutated over time and jumped from pigs to humans. It is now transferred easily from human to human through coughing, sneezing, touching and through contact with the nasal and oral mucosa.
Swine flu transmission cannot occur through eating pork. There is no known cure for a virus other than a vaccine, which is usually made from a part of the virus itself. There is no vaccine for swine flu, and antibiotics are ineffective against a virus.
Swine flu kills relatively quickly, and it affects mainly the young and healthy. The mean age range of the 149 deaths reported in Mexico is between 20-40 years old.
So far outbreaks are being reported in New York (28 cases), California (7), Texas (2), Kansas (2), Ohio (1). Canada is reporting 6 cases, and there are 19 cases reported worldwide -- not including Mexico.
The signs and symptoms of swine flu to look out for are similar to the flu:
- Runny nose
- Fatigue (feeling unusually tired)
- Sore throat
- Joint pain
The symptoms progress quickly to nausea, vomiting, disorientation and confusion ending in death.
Information on the web:
Flu cases in the United States - USA Today