The H1N1 virus is a highly contagious airborne pathogen. H1N1 is also mistakenly known as “swine flu”. Despite the name, the virus is not associated with swine or pigs. It is, in fact, a very different virus than those that infect swine. This new virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009, though cases have declined significantly since.
H1N1 virus spread in the same ways that the seasonal flu is spread. Respiratory transmission occurs mainly by droplets disseminated by unprotected coughs and sneezes. Short-distance airborne transmission of influenza viruses may occur, particularly in crowded enclosed spaces. H1N1 is considered highly contagious and spreads rapidly.
The symptoms of H1N1 are similar to other influenza varieties. However, severe illnesses and deaths have occurred as a result of illness associated with this virus. Symptoms may include:
- Sore throat
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Body aches