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Transmission of H1N1 Swine Flu Equals Seasonal Flu

Jenny Decker RN's picture

In a recent article in Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, transmission of the swine flu equals that of the seasonal flu. Researchers state that the seasonal flu spreads at a rate of 1.3 to 1.5 and the swine flu spreads at about 1.4. At this rate, it is jumps from person to person within about 1 to 2 days.

Dr. Dean Blumberg, an associate professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of California’s Davis Children’s Hospital explained to the U.S. News & World Report about how the pandemics spread. With a virus infecting less than one person, the virus would eventually die out. At a rate of 2 people, an outbreak would cascade. If the transmission was 10 people, than it would be explosive. Therefore, the swine flu is not spreading out of control and exploding.

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With the rate at around 1.4, this is reassuring. Even though it is highly transmissible, like the seasonal flu, it is not at a rate that there needs to be widespread panic. However, with this rate, there is still a need to be concerned. The swine flu presents a real threat to all.

Experts worldwide have been monitoring the evolution of swine flu viruses. Part of the concern with the H1N1 virus is the way it has been spreading and also with how it works. The pandemic of 1918 was similar. The first wave of the virus has been moderate, much like previous pandemics. There is still the potential that the swine flu virus could become much worse.

The swine flu virus has the potential to combine with other types of flu, such as the avian flu. If this happens, the deadly potential is increased. The CDC and the WHO are closely monitoring the situation. It is not wise to discount the warnings, nor is it wise to become paralyzed with fear. Use wisdom and keep in mind how you can help minimize the spread of the H1N1 virus.