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Prevention of Swine Flu

Avoidance in swine

Methods of prevent the spread of influenza among swine contain facility management, herd management, and vaccination (ATCvet code: QI09AA03). Because much of the illness and death associated with swine flu involve secondary disease by other pathogens, control strategies that rely on vaccination may be deficient.

Control of swine influenza by immunization has become more difficult in recent decades, as the development of the virus has resulted in inconsistent responses to conventional vaccines. Standard commercial swine flu vaccines are effective in controlling the disease when the virus strains match enough to have significant cross-protection, and custom (autogenous) vaccines made from the exact viruses isolated are created and used in the more difficult cases. Present immunization strategies for SIV control and prevention in swine farms typically include the use of one of more than a few bivalent SIV vaccines commercially available in the United States. Of the 97 recent H3N2 isolates examined, only 41 isolates had strong serologic cross-reactions with antiserum to three commercial SIV vaccines. Since the protective aptitude of influenza vaccines depends primarily on the closeness of the match between the vaccine virus and the epidemic virus, the presence of nonreactive H3N2 SIV variants suggests that current commercial vaccines might not efficiently protect pigs from infection with a majority of H3N2 viruses. The United States Department of Agriculture researchers say that while pig immunization keeps pigs from getting sick, it does not block disease or shedding of the virus.

Prevention in humans

Prevention of pig to human transmission

Swine can be infected by both avian and human influenza strains of influenza, and consequently are hosts where the antigenic shifts can happen that create new influenza strains. The transmission from swine to human is supposed to occur mostly in swine farms where farmers are in close contact with live pigs. Although strains of swine influenza are usually not able to infect humans this may infrequently happen, so farmers and veterinarians are expectant to use a face mask when dealing with infected animals. The use of vaccines on swine to avoid their infection is a major method of limiting swine to human transmission. Risk factors that may add to swine-to-human transmission include smoking and not wearing gloves when working with ill animals.

Prevention of human to human spread

Influenza spreads between humans through coughing or sneezing and people touching something with the germ on it and then touching their own nose or mouth.Swine flu cannot be extend by pork products, since the virus is not transmitted through food.The swine flu in humans is most infectious during the first five days of the illness although some people, most usually children, can remain contagious for up to ten days. Diagnosis can be made by sending a specimen, collected during the first five days for analysis.

Recommendations to prevent spread of the germ among humans include using standard illness control against influenza. This includes regular washing of hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially after being out in public. Chance of transmission is also reduced by disinfecting household surfaces, which can be done efficiently with a diluted chlorine bleach solution. Although the current trivalent influenza vaccine is unlikely to provide defense against the new 2009 H1N1 strain, vaccines against the new strain are being developed and could be set as early as June 2009.

Experts agree that hand-washing can help prevent viral infection, including ordinary influenza and the swine flu virus. Influenza can spread in coughs or sneezes, but an increasing body of proof shows small droplets containing the virus can linger on tabletops, telephones and other surfaces and be transfer via the fingers to the mouth, nose or eyes. Alcohol-based gel or foam hand sanitizers work well to wipe out viruses and bacteria. Anyone with flu-like symptoms such as a sudden fever, cough or muscle aches should stay away from work or public transportation and should contact a doctor for advice.

Social distancing is another method. It means staying away from other people who might be infected and can include avoiding large gatherings, spreading out a little at work, or perhaps staying home and lying low if an disease is spreading in a community. Public health and other responsible authorities have action plans which may request or require social distancing actions depending on the harshness of the outbreak.