Swine Flu: Causes & Symptoms

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Swine flu is influenza that had its origin with swine (commonly known as pigs) and is also known as hog flu and swine influenza. Initially thought to have first spread to human populations through swine farmers or those with close contact with sick animals, this disease can be deadly, and the fear of a global pandemic has made global governments stand up and pay attention.

What is Swine Flu?

It is a respiratory disease caused by the H1N1 and H3N2 influenza viruses. Swine flu is essentially normal flu for pigs, and animals do get ill, just as humans do, but the danger arises when there is a transmission of the virus from swine to humans. At that point, once someone is infected by the flu from another species, it can become a major health risk.

It is also the root cause of recent H1N1 scares across the world, and while a lot of preventative measures are in place, swine flu is still a very real threat. The contagious element of this flu is particularly frightening, but the real danger is something from a science fiction movie.



Pigs can harbor both human and avian strains of flu, in addition to their own, which provides the virus with a dangerous opportunity to create a blend of the three that may be impossible (or very difficult) to treat.

In humans, swine flu is transmitted by inhaling or ingesting the virus from discharges when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Contrary to popular belief, it is not transmitted by consuming cooked pork products.


The signs and symptoms of swine flu in humans are just like common influenza infections like the following:

You would usually recover between three to seven days, while more serious conditions would need nine to ten days to see improvement.

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