New Information about the H1N1 Live Influenza Vaccine and the Inactivated Influenza Vaccine
H1N1 Virus Overview
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website contains the most current information on the spread of the H1N1 virus.
What is the H1N1 (swine flu)?
H1N1 (also referred to as “swine flu” early on) is a new or "novel" influenza virus causing illness in people. It was first detected in humans in the United States in April 2009. Other countries, including Mexico and Canada, have also reported people sick with this virus. The virus is spread from person-to-person, similar to the transmission of the regular seasonal influenza viruses.
What are the signs and symptoms of the H1N1 virus in people?
The symptoms of H1N1 flu virus in people are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with this virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting. Also, like seasonal flu, severe illnesses and death have occurred as a result of illness associated with the virus, particulalry thouse with an underlying health condition like asthma or women who are pregnant. Approximately 30% of those with the H1N1 virus are asymptomatic.
How does H1N1 virus spread?
Spread of H1N1 virus is spread mainly from person to person by the transmission of fluids i.e. coughing or sneezing by people with the virus, particularlty when in close (3-6 feet) proximity to someone with the virus. The virus is not spread by air. People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
How long can an infected person spread this virus to others?
At the current time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believe that this virus has the same properties in terms of spread as seasonal flu viruses. Studies have shown that people may be contagious from one day before they develop symptoms to up to 7 days after they get sick. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods. CDC is studying the virus and its capabilities to try to learn more and will provide more information as it becomes available. It is recommended that poeple stay home until they are free of fever for 24 hours without the assistance of fever-reducing medicine or for 7 days from the onset of symptoms.
Is there a vaccine for H1N1?
The CDC is working on a vaccine, however there is no vaccine available right now to protect against H1N1 virus. Even though there is no vaccine, there are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza.
How long does the virus live?
The virus lives for 2-8 hours.