The Origins of Swine Flu

This Swine Flu virus originally started as the Avian flu. It passed from birds to pigs, possibly through droppings. Pigs probably passed the virus to humans through respiration. The virus then made the leap into human to human transmission. This is generally the way pandemics begin.

People should be worried about this flu because the virus is new according to Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Because there is no previous vaccination history or immunity to the virus, the mortality will be much higher. The mortality rate with the Swine flu has been about 6-10 percent, whereas with the Avian flu the mortality rate was 50% to 60%.

This virus might have not gone anywhere years ago. The bird flu H5N1, Ebola, AIDS and Avian flu all began with animals. It is because of the interconnectedness of our societies that these viruses now spread so quickly. They once would have been confined to small villages, but now have access to large populations of humans due to our close proximity to each other.

Even though the medications Tamiflu and Relenza seem to be working against the virus, if a large enough outbreak occurs among the population there may not be enough to go around. Most cases in the United States have been mild, and officials are hoping it will stay that way.

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