Swine flu is an infection that is caused by swine influenza virus. There are many strains of this virus and they are endemic to pigs; the most talked about strain in recent times being the H1N1 virus. Transmission from pigs to humans happens very rarely and does not always result in human influenza, often resulting only in the production of antibodies in the blood. People with regular exposure to pigs are at increased risk of getting infected by the virus. When humans get infected the symptoms are generally chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, headache, coughing and weakness in general.
A lot of fear has been associated with swine flu. In 1976, when it reared its head in the U.S there was panic, everybody thought it would sweep the nation and the government came up with flu shots and had the intent to inoculate everybody and save the world from a big disaster. Unfortunately, the flu came and went and only one person was recorded to have died of it while several cases were reported of individuals who had died on account of taking the flu vaccine. More than 500 cases of ‘Guillain-Barre syndrome’ which is a severe paralyzing nerve disease were reported in those who had taken the flu vaccine.
Again, the swine flu reared its ugly head in 2009 and many cases were reported in Mexico. While the government of the U.S showed an immediate interest in sanctioning 1 billion dollars to research, they did not consider closing off the border to Mexico which is where the virus seemed to have originated. It makes one question the actual seriousness of the epidemic. Is it just a means for vaccine manufacturers to make fast money and newspapers to churn out more reel or is it really something that needs medical attention.