Risk of swine flu associated with travel to affected areas

[Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)] — Public health officials within the United States and throughout the world are investigating outbreaks of swine influenza (swine flu). Swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by a type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza among pigs.  Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans; however, human infections with swine flu do occur.  Public health officials have determined that this strain of swine flu virus spreads from human to human and can cause illness.

The outbreak is ongoing and additional cases are expected.  For more information concerning swine flu infection, please see the CDC website.  For specific information on travel precautions and an update on the affected areas, click here.

The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu in humans and may include:

  • Fever (greater than 100°F or 37.8°C)
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Stuffy nose
  • Chills
  • Headache and body aches
  • Fatigue

Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. Severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people.  Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

People entering the United States who are experiencing symptoms consistent with swine flu and have traveled to an affected area, or have been exposed to someone possibly infected with swine flu, during the last seven days should report their illnesses to their health care provider immediately and inform them of their recent travel.  People traveling from the United States to affected areas should be aware of the risk of illness with swine flu and take precautions.

To prevent the spread of swine flu:

  • Avoid contact with ill persons.
  • When you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve (if you do not have a tissue).  Throw used tissues in a trash can.
  • After you cough or sneeze, wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand gel.

If you think you are ill with flu, avoid close contact with others as much as possible.  Stay at home or in your hotel room.  Seek medical care if you are severely ill (such as having trouble breathing).   There are antiviral medications for prevention and treatment of swine flu that a doctor can prescribe.   Do not go to work, school, or travel while ill.

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