H1N1 or Influenza A is a subtype of influenza A virus. It caused a major stir in 2009 when it became the major cause of human influenza and affected thousands of people in over 200 countries worldwide. The strains normally are endemic in pigs (swine) and birds (avian). Some strains of H1N1 were known to cause influenza in human which were primarily seasonal. But the 2009 outbreak led to the discovery of a new strain which originates in swine and thus came to be known as swine flu. It was declared a pandemic by WHO in 2010. The virus caused deaths in excess of 17,000 spreading worldwide.
Swine flu is thus an infection which can be caused by swine influenza virus of which again there are many strains. The virus which causes this endemic in pigs and is any strain of the influenza family. The influenza A has various sub types like H1N1, H1N2, H3N1, and H2N3.
Though transmission of the virus from pigs to human is not very common, but it can happen to people who have regular exposure to pigs like those who work in pig farms. Also if the meat of an infected pig is not cooked properly, transmission can happen. Clinical trials have shown that it takes approximately 4 days for pigs to show symptoms of the virus which were experimentally infected by the current strain which is causing human pandemic.
If the symptoms persist for more than two days, it is advised to get the H1N1 test done after consultation with physician. If test results are positive, physicians prescribe antiviral like oseltamivir or zanamivir. The antiviral should be started as soon as possible for best results and to avoid complications. Patients are advised isolation for at least 5 days to control the spread of the virus.
Healthcare providers may prescribe antiviral even after negative results are shown in the rapid flu tests if they suspect that a patient might have been infected by H1N1.