- H1N1 flu is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. It has two genes from flu viruses that normally circulate in pigs in Europe and Asia, plus avian genes and human genes. Scientists call this a quadruple reassortant virus.
- H1N1 flu is contagious. This new virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. The virus is spreading from person-to-person, in the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread.
- H1N1 flu is NOT caused by eating pork or pork products. H1N1 flu is not a foodborne disease, it is a respiratory disease. The USDA continues to remind consumers that all meat and poultry products are safe to eat when properly prepared and cooked.
- Illness with the new H1N1 flu virus has ranged from mild to severe. While the vast majority of people who have contracted H1N1 flu have recovered without needing medical treatment, hospitalizations and deaths have occurred.
- About 70 percent of people who have been hospitalized with H1N1 flu have had one or more medical conditions that placed them in the high risk category for serious seasonal flu-related complications. These include pregnancy, diabetes, heart disease, asthma and kidney disease.
- Unlike the seasonal flu virus, adults older than 64 do not yet appear to be at increased risk of H1N1 flu-related complications. CDC laboratory studies have shown that about one-third of adults older than 60 may have antibodies against this virus. It is unknown how much protection may be afforded against H1N1 flu by an existing antibody.
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