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Swine Flu Terms You Must Know—Glossary of Swine Flu Terms

Swine flu was rampant in many countries, and people look to many different sources to learn about the disease. This article tries to explain some important terms which will prove handy while reading about swine flu from different resources.

1. You may read : “Swine flu is an infection by any one of the several types of swine influenza virus.”

What is influenza?
Influenza, or flu, is an infectious disease which spreads through the air by coughs and sneezes.

The symptoms of the disease are chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache, coughing, weakness, and general discomfort.

2. You may read: “Influenza A, B, and C are ‘genera’ of influenza viruses.”

What are genera of a virus?
It is the plural form of a biological term—genus. A genus is a term used in the classification of living and fossil organisms.

3. You may read: “The new strain was initially described as an apparent ‘reassortment’ of at least four strains of influenza A virus subtype H1N1.”

What is reassortment?
Two similar viruses may infect a single cell. Then, in the cell, the genetic materials of both the viruses mix and generate a new virus with shared properties of their parent virus. This process of the mixing of genetic materials and producing new strains of viruses is called reassortment.

4. You may read: “For 60 years, swine influenza ‘strains’ were almost exclusively H1N1.”

What are strains?
Strains are a subtype of a micro organism, such as a virus, bacteria, or fungus. For example, a “flu strain” is a certain biological form of the “flu” virus. Strains are produced when the genetic materials of two similar organisms are mixed, producing an organism with a new genetic sequence.

5. You may read: “H3N2 evolved from H2N2 by ‘antigenic shift.’”

What is antigenic shift?
Antigenic shift is the process where at least two different strains of a virus combine to form a new subtype virus.

6. You may read: “Swine influenza virus SIV is any strain of the influenza family of viruses that is ‘endemic’ in pigs.”

What is endemism?
Endemism is the state of being unique to a particular being, location, habitat, or zone. To be endemic to a being means that it is found only in that being only and nowhere else.

7. You may read: “Direct transmission of a swine flu virus from pigs to humans is occasionally possible and is called ‘zoonotic’ swine flu.”

What is zoonosis?
A zoonosis is any infectious disease that can be transmitted from animals, both wild and domestic, to humans.

8. You may read: “Carrier pigs infect SIV into uninfected herds. So new animals should be ‘quarantined.’”

What is quarantine?
Quarantine is a voluntary or compulsory isolation to contain the spread of something considered dangerous, like a communicable disease.

9. You may read: “A ‘differential diagnosis’ of probable swine flu requires not only symptoms but also a high likelihood of swine flu due to the person’s recent history.”

What is differential diagnosis?
A differential diagnosis is a systematic method used to identify unknowns. This method basically involves the process of elimination and is used by scientists to identify living organisms.

10. You may read: “According to ‘CDC,’ in humans, the symptoms of the 2009 swine flu H1N1 virus were similar to those of influenza and of influenza-like illness in general.”

What is CDC?
It stands for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services based in Atlanta. It works to protect public health.

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