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Recently the swine flu has been spreading throughout Mexico and the United States.

What is swine flu? The swine influenza virus, or SIV, is a contagious respiratory disease that affects pigs. Symptoms can include fever, disorientation, stiffness of the joints, vomiting, and even death. The human case of swine influenza A, or H1N1, can be passed through people who work with poultry and swine. The 2009 swine influenza outbreak appears to be a result of reassortment and zoonosis. Zoonosis is the transmission of any infection disease from other animals to humans. Reassortment is the mixing of the genetic material of two similar viruses that are infecting the same cell.

The outbreak was detected in three areas of Mexico, as well as the United States, Canada, and Spain and over 1,800 cases have been found. There are some standard personal precautions against the swine flu. This includes:

  • Frequent washing of hands with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
  • Make sure you cough into tissues and dispose of the tissue immediately

If you have contracted the swine flu, contact a healthcare professional immediately. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu or Relenza. These antiviral drugs help fight against the flu by keeping the virus from reproducing in the body.

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