How dangerous is the pig flu?
Although the variant of swine flu that has existed since 2009 initially spread relentlessly, it is considered by some experts to be no more dangerous than the normal influenza virus. Its spread had reached the swine flu around the turn of 2009/2010. At the beginning of 2011, swine flu was officially declared a seasonal flu.
Some think that seriousness, especially the elderly, the sick and children are at risk; even if in comparison to other variants conspicuously predominantly young, healthy adults are infected with swine flu. Other experts, however, believe that although the risk of infection is not greater than that of ordinary flu, but the risk of fatal outcome.
However, such assumptions are in contradiction to the absolute numbers: While in Germany between 5000 and 15000 people die of seasonal influenza each year, according to the Robert Koch Institute, swine flu fell victim to 226, 000 reported swine flu cases between autumn 2009 and August 2010.
The symptoms of swine flu
The spectrum ranges from cases without signs of disease to a fatal ending form. The common symptoms of swine flu such as fever, cough, cold and body aches are similar to the symptoms of a normal flu, that is, the swine flu can not be seen without further blood tests. In addition, with swine flu, other symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea may occur.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) assesses the following signs as suspicious of swine flu: fever and at least two of the symptoms of acute respiratory infection (runny nose, stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath), especially if in at least one of the following Connections occur:
- after staying in an area defined as a risk for swine flu,
- after direct contact with a person who is likely or confirmed to have a swine flu infection or has died of it,
- after a simultaneous stay in a room with confirmed human case / cases of swine flu (eg in an airplane),
- at work in a laboratory where samples are tested for swine flu virus.
Protective measures against swine flu
Pigs can be vaccinated to prevent infection and further transmission of swine flu. In the fall of 2009, a large vaccination campaign - the first mass vaccination for over 40 years - against swine flu was also started for people. The normal flu shot was at that time ineffective against swine flu. Meanwhile, the "normal" flu vaccine protects against swine flu.
As the pathogen is transmitted via droplets, major events were canceled at the outbreak of the swine flu in Mexico, closed schools and discouraged by close body contact. However, these measures are not justified if only a few cases of disease occur, as in Germany.
Protective measures against viruses in general
However, there are some easy-to-follow hygiene rules to protect against swine flu or seasonal flu. According to the recommendations of the Robert Koch Institute, in the case of virus danger, care should be taken to ensure that no virus-laden secretions enter the respiratory tract:
- Wash hands frequently, especially after personal contact, and when in contact with items touched by potentially infected persons (for example, door handles in public). Wash your hands before eating and after sneezing or coughing in your hands.
- Stay away from infected people.
- Likewise, you should stay at home with a flu to avoid infecting other people.
- Cough in your crook rather than in your hand.
- Handle your eyes, nose or mouth as seldom as possible.