Recent news reports the discovery of H1N1 virus infection in poultry for the first time in the UK. Experts found the virus was similar to the H1N1 strain from the recent human swine flu outbreak. The poultry infected turkeys, showed mild signs of the disease and none of the birds died. The UK government stress that the discovery poses little threat to humans and poultry.
The previous H1N1 influenza or human swine flu pandemic started in 2009. It was initially detected in USA. Since then it has also been found around the world, including Europe and Asia. Swine flu is a highly contagious acute respiratory disease of pigs caused by influenza A virus. It causes high levels of illness and low death rates in pigs. Swine influenza viruses may circulate among swine throughout the year. The mortality rate was 1-4%.
The symptoms are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have also reported diarrhea and vomiting.
Humans can get infected from direct contact or close proximity to infected pigs, so people working in the swine industry are most susceptible. Human-to-human transmission can also occur. It spreads mainly through coughing or sneezing. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it, e.g. surfaces contaminated by droplets from a cough or sneeze and then touching their mouth or nose before washing their hands. The virus is thought to be able to live approximately 2 hours on surfaces.
Infected people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.
Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products are safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 70˚C kills the swine flu virus.
How does it affect Bali?
From the 2009 outbreak, there was reports of a low number of cases of human swine flu. All cases were initially found from international travelers. The recent discovery in the UK has not warranted special precautions prior to traveling.
Influenza vaccination in Bali.
BIMC hospital has the current influenza vaccine in stock. Under the CDC guidelines, the influenza vaccine is recommended for 19-49 year old adults with some risk factors (e.g. on the basis of medical, occupational, lifestyle or other indications). Vaccination is recommended for adults 50 years and above and who lack evidence of immunity. For further information on influenza vaccination or other recommended immunizations visit: www.cdc.gov/vaccines