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H1N1 infection

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

H1N1 infection

What to study?

For Prelims: Infection, symptoms and effects of H1N1.

For Mains: Spread and ways to prevent it.

Context: Five judges of the Supreme Court of India have been affected by Swine Flu which is caused by the H1N1 virus.

What is Swine flu (H1N1)?

Also called as pig influenza, swine flu, hog flu and pig flu. It is an infection caused by any one of several types of swine influenza viruses. Swine influenza virus is any strain of the influenza family of viruses that is endemic in pigs. Influenza A (H1N1) virus is the subtype of influenza A virus that is the most common cause of human influenza. It is an orthomyxovirus that contains the glycoproteins haemagglutinin and neuraminidase. Haemagglutinin causes red blood cells to clump together and binds the virus to the infected cell. Neuraminidase is a type of glycoside hydrolase enzyme which helps to move the virus particles through the infected cell and assist in budding from the host cells.


Spread and Effects:

  1. H1N1 influenza (or swine flu) is a highly contagious acute respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs.
  2. Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with swine flu have occurred.
  3. Most commonly, these cases occur in people with direct exposure to pigs (e.g., children near pigs at a fair or workers in the swine industry).
  4. However, there have been cases of human-to-human spread of swine flu.

Treatment consists of antivirals:

Typical treatment includes rest, pain relievers and fluids. In some cases antiviral medication and IV fluids may be required.

Sources: the Hindu.