(AP) - Here are some questions and answers about the illness:
Q. What is swine flu?
A. Swine flu is a respiratory illness in pigs caused by a virus.The swine flu virus routinely causes outbreaks in pigs but doesn'tusually kill many of them.
Q. Can people get swine flu?
A. Swine flu viruses don't usually infect humans. There havebeen occasional cases, usually among people who've had directcontact with infected pigs, such as farm workers. "We've seen swineinfluenza in humans over the past several years, and in most cases,it's come from direct pig contact. This seems to be different,"said Dr. Arnold Monto, a flu expert with the University ofMichigan.
Q. Can it spread among humans?
A. There have been cases of the virus spreading from human tohuman, probably in the same way as seasonal flu, through coughingand sneezing by infected people.
Q. What are the symptoms of swine flu?
A. The symptoms are similar to those of regular flu —fever, cough, fatigue, lack of appetite.
Q. Is the same swine flu virus making people sick in Mexico and the U.S.?
A. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said theMexican virus samples match the U.S. virus. The virus is a mix ofhuman virus, bird virus from North America and pig viruses fromNorth America, Europe and Asia.
Q. Are there drugs to treat swine flu in humans?
A. There are four different drugs approved in the U.S. to treatthe flu, but the new virus has shown resistance to the two oldest.The CDC recommends the use of the flu drugs Tamiflu andRelenza.
Q. Does a regular flu shot protect against swine flu?
A. The seasonal flu vaccine used in the U.S. this year won'tlikely provide protection against the latest swine flu virus. Thereis a swine flu vaccine for pigs but not for humans.
Q. Should residents of California or Texas do anything special?
A. The CDC recommends routine precautions to prevent the spreadof infectious diseases: wash your hands often, cover your nose andmouth when you cough or sneeze, avoid close contact with sickpeople. If you are sick, stay at home and limit contact withothers.
Q. What about traveling to Mexico?
A. The CDC has not warned Americans against traveling to Mexicobut advises that they be aware of the illnesses there and takeprecautions to protect against infections, like washing theirhands.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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