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New Swine Flu Outbreak Worries CDC

12 Infected by Pigs in Last Week; No Ongoing Human Spread So Far

H3N2v Swine Flu Symptoms continued...

Current flu drugs should be just as effective against the new swine flu as against seasonal flu. However, current flu vaccines do not protect against the new swine flu. A vaccine has been produced, and Bresee says it soon will be tested in clinical trials.

Is this the beginning of a new flu pandemic? Maybe. Maybe not. Flu is among the most unpredictable of viruses. H3N2v could become a pandemic virus this year, in 20 years, or never.

"The key point is this is still a swine virus -- maybe a little different, but still not a human virus," Bresee said. "This virus is different because it acquired the M gene from pandemic virus, and that may confer an advantage to spreading among humans. But whether we're seeing more cases because of this, or because it's the season for state fairs and we're looking more closely, we don't know."

The CDC wants to know more about the new swine flu. People who get sick after contact with pigs are urged to see a doctor, and doctors are urged to collect patient samples for further tests at CDC.

How to Avoid Swine Flu

Because it's now state fair season, when many people are exposed to farm animals, the CDC is issuing special advice:

  • If you are pregnant, frail, have a weakened immune system, or have any other risk for severe flu, consider skipping the state fair this year.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before AND after exposure to animals.
  • Don't carry food or beverages into areas where there are animals.
  • Don’t eat or drink in areas where there are animals.

Although a person can get swine flu from contact with live pigs, the disease is not spread by eating or preparing pork.

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