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Why Swine flu is called “Swine Flu”


Still more problems as Swine flu seems to be spread to new areas.  A very nice post from Pro-med mail  looks at why Swine Flu takes this name. 

In 1918-1919 the Spanish Flu caused significant death and morbidity in both human and swine populations, although it is likely to have originated from birds.  “Swine Flu” is bascially any virus that circulates through pig populations, such as H3N2, H1N2 or the present H1N1.  The terms H and N stand for haemagluttin and neuraminidase, which are unique ways influenza viruses infect humans.

This particular strain of H1N1 influenza nicknamed Swine Flu is able to be transferred between persons, without swine contact.  Further, there is a lack of evidence showing the initial jump from swine populations to humans.  H1N1 also carries a component of bird flu, as well.  Thus, simply calling it swine flu is inaccurate.

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