How do you test for swine flu?

May 10, 2010

Swine flu is a family of influenza based conditions that may be caused by different variations of the swine influenza virus. The most commonly known variant, responsible for the recent global outbreak of swine flu is the H1N1 strain of the virus. There are rare cases where swine flu has passed from pigs to humans and it is likely that most of these cases are not reported because they produce weak symptoms. Patients easily recover from this type of flu. The recent outbreak of swine flu was caused through human to human contact. There has been considerable panic about the epidemic but more recent medical study has shown that swine flu has an extremely low mortality rate. Besides, the disease is less dangerous than some other diseases which are actually more widespread across the world and claim more lives.

Swine flu presents with symptoms that can easily be mistaken for influenza or common cold. These include fever, headaches, cough, sore throat, and chills. These symptoms are generic and may indicate any condition that can infect the breathing system of a human being. Many swine flu cases are thus not even reported as the symptoms are similar to a common flu and are treated in the same way as one would treat the common flu. Death due to swine flu is usually caused by a complication of poor healthcare. Deaths have been caused by pneumonia which is a result of a suppressed immune system during swine flu infection. Deaths have also been reported due to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. These are both as a result of poor care rather than the virus itself because a patient with fever must be treated with electrolytes and plenty of fluids in any case.

Diagnosis for swine flu is a complicated process that requires blood samples to be drawn and it may take a few days before confirmed results are available. Most cases are diagnosed as swine flu based on the symptoms and the likelihood of a person having being exposed to the condition through a check of recent travel history and the possibility of being exposed to a person suffering from the condition. There is a test known as the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction test which is used on a sample to identify the exact type of influenza virus occurring in the sample. Testing that can be done at home is, as yet, not fully developed.

Submitted by M T on May 10, 2010 at 01:48

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