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Swine Flu Guide: All You Need to Know about the Global Pandemic Disease!

Around 8,648 Swine Flu cases were reported and 345 deaths were caused by Swine Flu till May 7, 2017

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Symptoms of Swine Flu
Symptoms of Swine Flu. Wikimedia
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  • Swine flu is a disease that attacks the respiratory tract of pigs, is caused by influenza viruses
  • The first time when Swine Flu was identified in humans was in the year 2009 in Mexico
  • Consult your doctor if you think you are at a higher risk of acquiring this infection

New Delhi (India), Aug 22, 2017: Swine Flu can get transferred from one person to another. Thus, it creates a panic situation whenever a single person is infected with this disease. To avoid catching this disease we can take some precautions.

As per the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare India- there has been 8,648 Swine Flu cases and 345 deaths caused by this disease till May 7, 2017. There were 1,786 Swine Flu cases and 265 deaths caused by it in 2016. Till May 7, Tamil Nadu alone has had 2,798 cases of it, 181 and 130 people suffered at the hands of this disease in Maharashtra and Gujarat respectively.  The worst years for Swine Flu outbreak in India were 2009-10 when it affected almost 50,000 people and took more than 2,700 lives across the country.

According to ANI report, some important guidelines on diagnosis of  Swine Flu are given below. We have also mentioned the steps one should take if they catch Swine Flu and other crucial pointers which you don’t want to miss.

What is Swine Flu?

Swine flu is a disease that attacks the respiratory tract of pigs, is caused by influenza viruses. The symptoms shown by an infected animal are barking cough, decreased appetite, listless behavior and nasal secretions. The virus can mutate and get easily transmissible in humans.

Also Read: 40 swine flu cases in Delhi already in 2016

Where did it originate from?

The first time when Swine Flu was identified in humans was in the year 2009 in Mexico. After a few months, the very first of the swine flu cases were reported; slowly the rate, at which H1N1-related illness started spreading, was increasing around the globe. As a result, in August 2010 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the infection ‘a global pandemic’ (a disease prevalent all over the world).

Even now, H1N1 has not stopped spreading is still getting circulated in humans, as a ‘seasonal flu virus’ and protection against this strain was thus included in seasonal flu vaccines. More recently, another strain, H3N2 infected humans in 2011.

What is the time period till this disease lasts?

Generally, the incubation period of a swine flu virus is between 3 to 7 days but if one catches a serious infection it can last about 9 or even 10 days.

What are the symptoms?

H1N1 flu symptoms take some time to develop, it takes around 1 to 3 days in humans. This is after they are exposed to the virus.

Some Common symptoms are:

  • Body Ache
  • In some cases Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Watery or red eyes
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • vomiting

Also Read: Are you safe? Swine Flu virus mutates in India, becomes more lethal, says MIT study

Is Vaccination possible and available?

If you want to reduce the risk of contracting the influenza virus, it can be done through vaccinations. Consult your doctor if you think you are at a higher risk of acquiring this infection. The need to get vaccinated increases if one is traveling to a place where many cases have been recently reported.

The High-risk groups are:

  • Children: who are younger than 5 yrs of age, especially those who are younger than 2 yrs
  • Senior citizens: Those 65 years and older
  • Pregnant women: who are within 2 weeks of delivery, including those women who have had a miscarriage
  • Chronic Medical Conditions: People suffering from it. Chronic Medical Conditions like heart disease, diabetes asthma, kidney, liver or blood disease, emphysema and neuromuscular disease
  • Those who are immunosuppressed (reduction of the activation or efficacy of the immune system) due to some particular medications or because of HIV

How to get it Diagnosed?

If you want to get it diagnosed, it can be done by taking a nose or throat swab. This should be done within the first 5 days of the illness, this being the most infectious period of the disease. Only a few labs are authorized to conduct Swine Flu tests. The Swab results take 8 to 24 hours, after seeing the results and consulting the doctor, the patient will know if he/she has this disease. Some labs are well equipped with a skilled technician if you prefer a home collection of the sample. “The expert team of pathologists is also able to guide clinicians and patients for report analysis and queries surrounding swine flu diagnosis,” mentions ANI report.

Apart from taking vaccines and getting tested for Swine Flu. One of the easiest ways to prevent catching swine flu is by maintaining a basic hygiene routine which includes washing your hands on a regular basis.

 

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Brian Gitta: A Malaria Test That Would Not Need Blood Samples

The new malaria test kit works by shining a red beam of light onto a finger

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A health service worker takes a blood sample for a malaria test in Dajabon, Dominican Republic, on the border with Haiti, Oct. 6, 2009. A test that doesn't require a needle or blood has won the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation
A health service worker takes a blood sample for a malaria test in Dajabon, Dominican Republic, on the border with Haiti, Oct. 6, 2009. A test that doesn't require a needle or blood has won the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, VOA

Languishing with fever and frustrated by delays in diagnosing his illness, Brian Gitta came up with a bright idea: a malaria test that would not need blood samples or specialized laboratory technicians.

That inspiration has won the 25-year-old Ugandan computer scientist a prestigious engineering prize for a noninvasive malaria test kit that he hopes will be widely used across Africa.

For developing the reusable test kit known as Matibabu, Gitta this month was awarded the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. The award by the Royal Academy of Engineering in Britain comes with $32,940.

Malaria is the biggest killer in Africa, and the sub-Saharan region accounts for about 80 percent of the world’s malaria cases and deaths. Cases rose to 216 million in 2016, up from 211 million cases in 2015, according to the latest World Malaria Report, released late last year. Malaria deaths fell by 1,000, to 445,000.

The mosquito-borne disease is a challenge to prevent, with increasing resistance reported to both drugs and insecticides.

No needles

The new malaria test kit works by shining a red beam of light onto a finger to detect changes in the shape, color and concentration of red blood cells, all of which are affected by malaria. The results are sent within a minute to a computer or mobile phone linked to the device.

A Portugal-based firm has been contracted to produce the components for Matibabu, the Swahili word for “treatment.”

“It’s a perfect example of how engineering can unlock development, in this case by improving health care,” Rebecca Enonchong, Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation judge, said in a statement. “Matibabu is simply a game changer.”

A woman carrying a baby holds a treated mosquito net during a malaria prevention action at Ajah in Eti Osa East district of Lagos, Nigeria, April 21, 2016.
A woman carrying a baby holds a treated mosquito net during a malaria prevention action at Ajah in Eti Osa East district of Lagos, Nigeria, April 21, 2016. VOA

Gitta and five colleagues, all trained in computer science or engineering, developed an affordable, bloodless test that does not need a specialist to operate. The new test will be suitable for use in Africa’s rural areas, where most cases of malaria occur, because it will not depend on sending blood samples to a distant laboratory.

Others are also working to fill the need for quicker, easier malaria tests. There are more than 200 rapid diagnostic test products for malaria on the market, according to the WHO.

80 percent accurate now

The fifth-generation prototype of Matibabu, with an accuracy rate of 80 percent, is still a work in process. Gitta and his group aim to refine the device until it achieves an accuracy rate exceeding 90 percent.

Matibabu has yet to be formally subjected to all the necessary clinical trials under Ugandan safety and ethics regulations.

“It excites me as a clinician,” said Medard Bitekyerezo, a Ugandan physician who chairs the National Drug Authority. “I think the National Drug Authority will approve it.”

The government should invest in the project so that its developers don’t struggle financially, he added. The unit cost of the latest prototype is about $100.

Despite the optimism, Gitta has found a hurdle he didn’t anticipate: Some patients are skeptical of unfamiliar technology.

“The doctors will tell you that some people will not leave the hospital until their children have been pricked, and until they have been given anti-malaria drugs and painkillers, even if the kid is not sick,” he said.

Also read: From Radio Signals A Pill Could Tell About Gut Health And Help Doctors

“We think we are developing for hospitals first, so that people can first get attached to the brand, and gain the trust of patients over time.” (VOA)