The novel strain of the H1N1 virus appeared in early 2009. According to the U.S.D.A., the virus appears to have emerged from swine populations in Asia and then traveled to North America via a human host. The symptoms of the novel H1N1 virus in people are similar to that of seasonal flu. These symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue/weakness, chills and muscle soreness. The most common symptoms for people infected with the virus has been fever and cough. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) doesn't have an exact count of swine flu deaths and hospitalizations, but existing reports suggest the infection has caused more than 600 deaths and more than 9,000 hospitalizations since the virus was first identified in April. Also, the information analyzed by the CDC supports the conclusion that the novel H1N1 virus has had a greater impact on people younger than 25 years of age than of any other age group.
Spread of the virus
The virus is contagious and is believed to spread from human to human in the same way as the seasonal flu. The most common methods by which it spreads are by droplets from the coughs and sneezes of infected people. The CDC recommends that people should wait at least a day after their fever subsides before resuming normal activities.
Personal Protection Options
Personal hygiene measures, such as avoiding people who are coughing or sneezing and frequent hand-washing, may prevent flu infection. Those who aren’t health professionals should avoid contact with sick people. People who get sick with flu symptoms should stay home. If a physician prescribes Tamiflu or Relenza for the treatment the novel H1N1 virus, you may bring the prescription to select Meijer Pharmacies to be filled free of charge. For a more information regarding this program and a list of participating locations please view the Press Release.
Existing vaccines against the seasonal flu provide no protection against the novel H1N1 virus. A vaccine for the virus has been in development for months and is anticipated to be available sometime in November 2009. It is estimated that three billion doses of the vaccine will be produced and distributed to combat the virus. Please visit the Michigan Department of Community Health or the Oakland County Health Division websites for more information regarding vaccination for the novel H1N1 virus.