What is the H1N1 Virus?
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made an announcement in 2009 regarding the H1N1 virus (Swine Flu). The information below will give you some insight into what the virus is, who it affects, and what measures are being taken to ensure the safety of people in the United States.
The H1N1 virus or, Swine Flu, was first discovered in the US in April 2009. The virus can be spread from person to person the same way a regular seasonal influenza virus spreads. It is not a foodborne disease, but a respiratory disease. Therefore, all meat and poultry products are safe to eat when properly prepared and cooked. The vast majority of people who have contracted the H1N1 virus have fully recovered without the need of medical care, yet some of been hospitalized and some deaths have occurred. Those that have been hospitalized have been labeled “high risk” due to existing medical conditions including:
• Heart Disease
• Kidney Disease
Adults aging from 65 or older are prioritized for antiviral treatment so that they are limiting the risk of complication if they get the flu. Although your age means you have a lower risk of getting the flu, some risk conditions (diabetes, COPD, etc.) mean if you do get sick, you may have a higher risk of complications from any influenza.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), flu like symptoms can be experienced such as:
• Sore Throat
• Runny or Stuffy Nose
• Muscle or Body Aches
• Throwing Up
• Loose Stools
More serious symptoms could include the following which do require urgent medical attention:
• Difficulty breathing
• Pain or pressure in chest
• Sudden dizziness
• Severe or persistent vomiting
• Flu-Like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
On September 16, 2009, the FDA approved vaccines from four manufacturers so that the vaccine can be administered as quickly as it is available. The approval was announced to Congress by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The United States ordered enough vaccine for 195 million doses to account for everyone. People in the “high risk” category will receive the vaccine first including women that are pregnant and healthcare workers. The four manufacturers include:
• Sanofi Pasteur (France) – Sanofi Pasteur, Inc. is the world’s largest supplier of influenza vaccines. They produce more than 1.6 billion doses of vaccines for more than 500 million people worldwide annually.
• MedImmune (Maryland) – Employs more than 3,000 people with locations in the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
• Novartis (Switzerland) – Created in 1996, Novartis is a global leader in innovative pharmaceuticals, generics, vaccines and consumer health products. They employ approximately 100,000 people in 140 countries worldwide.
• CSL (Australia) – Employs over 10,000 people in 27 countries with major facilities in Australia, Germany Switzerland and the US.
To learn more about the H1N1 virus consult with your physician.