On Thursday, local doctor Scott Rollins stopped by 11 News Live Today to give some more facts and figures about swine flu.
Dr. Rollins says that the influenza, or flu, is a reparatory virus that causes a cough, sore throat, fever, lethargy, anorexia and pneumonia. The influenza virus regularly circulates among birds, humans and pigs.
In the case of the so-called swine flu, or H1N1 virus, which has been known since 1930, Dr. Rollins says that 30 to 50 percent of pigs in the U.S. have it. While the various flu strains usually stay within the species, Dr. Rollins says that pigs can catch human influenza strains and then the strains swap genes. This causes humans to then catch the swine flu.
There have been swine flu outbreaks in the past, including a 1976 outbreak at Fort Dix, which was due to close contacts in barracks. What’s unique about this recent outbreak is the wide spread of the virus from person to person. The CDC is currently working to establish the virulence or potency of the virus.
Currently, the CDC recommends no travel to Mexico, and recommend alerting health officials if you show signs of influenza.
Some ways to avoid getting the flu include hand-washing, avoiding large gatherings, and keeping at least six feet of distance between other people. Someone with the flu is contagious one day prior to the on-set of symptoms, and seven days after the symptoms begin.
See the interview with Dr. Rollins above for more information about influenza. Tune in to 11 News Live Today every other Tuesday for more medical news with Dr. Rollins. You can also visit his website by clicking the link below.