The influenza strain that has struck Mexico and the United States involves, in many cases, a never-before-seen strain of the H1N1 virus.
Ironically, after years of concern about H5N1 bird flu, the new flu causing concern is a pig virus, of a family known as H1N1.
Flu viruses are named after the two main proteins on their surfaces, abbreviated H and N. They are also differentiated by what animal they usually infect. The H in the new virus comes from pigs, but some of its other genes come from bird and human flu viruses, a mixture that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls "very unusual".
It can transmit among people. Those infected in the US had no known contact with pigs, and the three separate clusters of cases did not contact each other. This suggests, said Besser, that "this virus has already been transmitted from person to person, for several cycles", making it too late for emergency antiviral drugs to contain its spread to a limited area.
Centers for disease control and prevenrion: CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the agency's response to this emerging health threat and yesterday the Secretary of the Department Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, declared a public health emergency in the United States.
Laboratory testing has found the swine influenza A (H1N1) virus susceptible to the prescription antiviral drugs oseltamivir (Тамифлю, Roche) and zanamivir (Реленза, GlaxoSmithKline).
World Health Organizayion: There is also no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products. Individuals are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis and should seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms of influenza-like illness.
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