Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine flu (H1N1 influenza virus)

Swine flu cases are in the news right now and seem to be increasing in number. As of 9am Sunday (26 April 2009), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had confirmed 20 cases in California, Kansas, New York City, Ohio and Texas. There are no confirmed cases in Indiana at this time. Today, more cases have been reported across the globe, including one confirmed case in Israel. Depending on which reports you read, this puts the confirmed cases between 50 and 150 with some deaths in Mexico potentially resulting from this illness.

The photo to the left is an electron micrograph of the swine influenza virus. Below to the right is a schematic of an influenza virus.

How serious is this?
Is there reason to worry?

Find out more information from the links below

National Library of Medicine: Swine Flu information page with links to the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO)

Health News Blog resources: A comprehensive resource for finding out everything you need about the H1N1 influenze virus (aka the swine flu)

Swine flu news

Overviews from ScienceBlogs Aetiology and Effect Measure

"The Sky is Falling: An Analysis of the Swine Flu Affair of 1976"

"1976: Fear of a great plague"

"History Says Avoid Virus Hysteria"

Influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 from the US Dept. of Health & Human Services

Newsweek article: Hand-washing is no defense against H1N1