Swine Flu Vigilance Stokes Seasonal Vaccine Shortage in U.S

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Fear of pandemic swine flu has heightened public vigilance in the U.S. against seasonal influenza as well, causing vaccine shortages at doctors' offices, clinics and retail drugstores.

Swine flu and seasonal influenza strains, which carry similar symptoms and outcomes, may circulate concurrently in the U.S. for the first time beginning this month, normally the official start of the flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Both types of flu require separate vaccinations that can be given at the same time, government health officials said on Oct. 9.

The swine flu is caused by H1NI strain of flu virus. When both the H1N1 strain and H3N2 subtype of the virus infected 22-old day pigs "the results demonstrated that both virus subtypes were able to induce flu-like symptoms and lung lesions in weanling pigs", according to Roongroje Thanawongnuwech. H1N1 virus is usually contracted by those who have close contact with the animals, but you can not get H1N1 virus from pork products.

The symptoms of swine flu in humans are mild. Although the symptoms are similar to those of the regular flu, such as fever, chills, body aches and coughing, they are no worse than regular flu symptoms.

Swine flu is treatable. However, about 4,500 people have died of it since the virus emerged in April, the World Health Organization reported last week. More than 600 of those deaths are from the U.S., according to the CDC Web site.


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