In reality, the CDC reports that birds are the primary reservoir for new influenza viruses and all 15 recognized influenza A subtypes have been found in birds.
While the media blitz about the Swine Flu (2009 H1N1) scare is over, it is nothing to ignore. At this time, there is no reason to believe that this virus is any more serious than the seasonal flu, but it is too soon to make any conclusions about what this flu strain will do. It is possible that, even though it is mild now, it could come back in the fall in a form that is more severe. Remain aware and take time to prepare now. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) reports the following:
Origin of the Swine Flu
Novel influenza A (H1N1) is a new flu virus of swine origin that was first detected in Mexico and the United States in March and April, 2009. The first novel H1N1 patient in the United States was confirmed by laboratory testing at CDC on April 15, 2009. The second patient was confirmed on April 17, 2009. It was quickly determined that the virus was spreading from person-to-person. On April 22, CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center to better coordinate the public health response. On April 26, 2009, the United States Government declared a public health emergency.
It’s thought that novel influenza A (H1N1) flu spreads in the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread; mainly through the coughs and sneezes of people who are sick with the virus.
Since the outbreak began in the United States, an increasing number of U.S. states have reported cases of novel H1N1 influenza with associated hospitalizations and deaths. By June 3, 2009, all 50 states in the United States and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico were reporting cases of novel H1N1 infection. While nationwide U.S. influenza surveillance systems indicate that overall influenza activity is decreasing in the country at this time, novel H1N1 outbreaks are ongoing in parts of the U.S., in some cases with intense activity.
At this time, most people who have become ill with novel H1N1 in the United States have recovered without requiring medical treatment and have experienced typical flu symptoms.
It’s uncertain at this time how serious or severe this novel H1N1 virus will be in terms of how many people infected will develop serious complications or die or how this new virus may affect the U.S. during its upcoming influenza season in the fall and winter. Because this is a new virus, most people will have little or no immunity against it, and illness may be more severe and widespread as a result. In addition, currently there is no vaccine to protect against this novel H1N1 virus. CDC anticipates that there will be more cases, more hospitalizations and more deaths associated with this new virus.
CDC is continuing to watch the situation carefully, to support the public health response and to gather information about this virus and its characteristics.
Learn about influenza. What is it and are we due for an outbreak of pandemic proportions? How would a pandemic affect you and your family? Should you be concerned? What lessons can we learn from previous pandemics? What can I do now to prepare?