MUSC Responds to Swine Flu Epidemic
MUSC clinicians and researchers are actively monitoring the swine flu epidemic, linking their efforts to others at a state and national level. While concerned, we are prepared to respond to cases arising in the local area.
In this podcast, MUSC Professor of Microbiology and Immunology Dr. Michael Schmidt discusses the swine flu epidemic. Influenza is generally a serious illness, causing approximately 36,000 deaths each year. This particular strain of flu is quite contagious, and one in five of those exposed will contract the typical symptoms of flu: fever, respiratory symptoms, and muscle aches. Additionally, some will develop diarrhea or nausea. The symptoms typically appear 1-4 days after exposure, but the individual may be contagious to others before symptoms arise. Young children and those who are immunocompromised are at particular risk with this strain of influenza.
This strain of swine flu is the so-called H1N1 variant, and it is unclear if the vaccine that many people took in the fall of 2008 will offer some protection. Dr. Schmidt advises frequent hand-washing, and to avoid exposure to crowds if possible. He notes that fresh air and sunshine are the enemies of the influenza virus. In work areas, countertops should be disinfected frequently. If you develop symptoms, stay home, avoid contact with others, and call your doctor.
As the epidemic proceeds, we will keep you updated on this page.