This week, Dr. DuPont will join Dr. Galati to provide an up to the minute update on H1N1 (swine) flu.  With the start of the flu season only a few weeks away, we need to clarify all of the information-and misinformation-regarding both seasonal flu and H1N1. Dr. DuPont, as an infectious disease physician, is an expert on this topic.

Dr. DuPont’s major research goals are to define the epidemiology, immunology, genetic resistance, clinical features, control, prevention and therapy of enteric infectious diseases. Laboratory techniques and procedures are typically developed in Houston and taken to the field in an international setting.
 
Novel H1N1 (referred to as “swine flu” early on) is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. This new virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. This virus is spreading from person-to-person worldwide, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread. On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) signaled that a pandemic of novel H1N1 flu was underway.
 

Novel H1N1 flu virus infection (formerly known as swine flu) can cause a wide range of symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with novel H1N1 flu. Like seasonal flu, novel H1N1 flu in humans can vary in severity from mild to severe. Severe disease with pneumonia, respiratory failure and even death is possible with novel H1N1 flu infection. Certain groups might be more likely to develop a severe illness from novel H1N1 flu infection, such as pregnant women and persons with chronic medical conditions. Sometimes bacterial infections may occur at the same time as or after infection with influenza viruses and lead to pneumonias, ear infections, or sinus infections.

The following information can help you provide safer care at home for sick persons during a flu outbreak or flu pandemic.

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