Swine flu virus; pandemic influenza A (H1N1) has been reported recently in Kathmandu in the blood samples collected from Kathmandu, Chitwan, Sindhuli and Khotang.
Outbreaks of unidentified viral fever have been hitting the country badly in different places. At least two dozen people have died due to viral fever in Nepal. They might have died of swine flu. Swine flu is a viral influenza which is also called “pig influenza” or “pig flu”. Swine influenza virus is common throughout the pig population worldwide. Transmission of virus from pigs to human is not common and does not always lead to human flu but if transmission does cause human flu, it is called zoonotic swine flu.
Swine flu viruses were first isolated from pigs in the 1930s. These were H1N1 subtype viruses and their isolation from pigs followed closely upon the 1918 human H1N1 influenza pandemic that claimed over 40 million lives around the world. In Nepal this virus had hit in 2009, and during this time over 40 people died due to the outbreak of this virus.
Swine flu produces influenza like illness. These include fever, cough, sore throat, body ache, chills and fatigue. These symptoms are not specific to swine flu, so it is difficult to diagnose it. A diagnosis of confirmed swine flu requires laboratory testing of respiratory samples. The most common cause of death is respiratory failure, pneumonia, high fever, dehydration (from excessive vomiting and diarrhoea), electrolyte imbalance and kidney failure. Fatalities are more likely to occur in young children and the elderly as well as persons with low immunity.
Although strains of swine influenza are usually not able to infect humans, this may occasionally happen, so farmers are encourage to use face masks when dealing with infected swine. But human to human transmission is very rapid; therefore, it may exist as an outbreak. Influenza spreads between humans when infected people cough or sneeze, and other people breathe in the virus or touch something with the virus on it and then touch their face. Avoid touching yours eyes, nose or mouth. Germs i.e. virus spread this way. Swine flu in humans is most contagious during first five days of illness. If fever becomes out of hand, it’s better to consult a physician. Vaccines are also available for different kinds of swine flu. For treatment antiviral drugs can make the illness milder and make the patients feel better faster. They may prevent serious flu complication. Therefore, preventive measures like hand washing, use of masks as well as standard infection control methods should be applied to control its outbreak.