Tag Archives: Nature (journal)

Hibiscus sinosyriacus

Botanical Name : Hibiscus sinosyriacus
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Hibiscus
Kingdom :Plants
Division:vascular plants
Class: Dicotyledonous angiosperms
Order: Malvales

Common Name: Rose Of Sharon

Habitat :Hibiscus sinosyriacus is native to E. Asia – China. It grows on the scrub in valleys at elevations of 500 – 1000 metres.

Description:
Hibiscus sinosyriacus is a deciduous Shrub. It is not an evergreen; during the summer it assumes a purple colouring; the adult species are medium in size and reach 3 m in height. Growing they develop a round-shape shrub.....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES…

It is in flower in September, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
Cultivation:
Prefers a well-drained humus rich fertile soil in a sheltered position in full sun[200]. Succeeds in any soil of good or moderate quality. Dislikes shade or badly drained soils. Plants grow best with their roots in cool moist soil and their tops in a hot sunny position. Plants are hardy in most parts of the country, tolerating temperatures down to around -15°c. They are best grown in the milder areas, however, because of their habit of flowering late in the season and thus being subject to frost damage. When planted in colder parts of the country they will need some protection for the first few winters. This species is closely related to H. syriacus, differing mainly in the larger leaves and larger epicalyx. Plants rarely require pruning, though they respond well to pruning and trimming and this is best carried out in the spring or just after flowering. The flowers are produced on the current season’s growth. and they only open in sunny weather. Plants are late coming into leaf, usually around the end of May or early June. There are some named varieties selected for their ornamental value.
Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first year. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Some reports say that the seed can be sown in situ outside and that it gives a good rate of germination. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood, early autumn in a frame. Good percentage. Layering in mid summer to early autumn.

Edible Uses:.... Oil; Tea……The following notes are for the closely related H. syriacus. They quite probably also apply to this species[K]. Young leaves – raw or cooked. A very mild flavour, though slightly on the tough side, they make an acceptable addition to the salad bowl. A tea is made from the leaves or the flowers. Flowers – raw or cooked. A mild flavour and mucilaginous texture, they are delightful in salads, both for looking at and for eating. Root – it is edible but very fibrousy. Mucilaginous, without very much flavour.
Medicinal Uses:
The following notes are for the closely related H. syriacus. They quite possibly also apply to this species. Ophthalmic, styptic. The leaves are diuretic, expectorant and stomachic. A decoction of the flowers is diuretic, ophthalmic and stomachic. It is also used in the treatment of itch and other skin diseases, dizziness and bloody stools accompanied by much gas. A decoction of the root bark is antiphlogistic, demulcent, emollient, febrifuge, haemostatic and vermifuge. It is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery, dysmenorrhoea and dermaphytosis.

Other Uses:
The following notes are for the closely related H. syriacus. They quite probably also apply to this similar species. A low quality fibre is obtained from the stems. It is used for making cordage and paper. The seed contains about 25% oil. No further details are given, but it is likely to be edible. A hair shampoo is made from the leaves. A blue dye is obtained from the flowers. This species is planted as a hedge in S. Europe.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Hibiscus+sinosyriacus
https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=https%3A%2F%2Fsv.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FHibiscus_sinosyriacus&edit-text=
http://www.gardening.eu/plants/Shrubs/Hibiscus-sinosyriacus/788/

Cynanchum glaucescens

Botanical Name :Cynanchum glaucescens
Family: Asclepiadaceae

Common Name ;

Habitat : Cynanchum glaucescens is native to  E. Asia – China. It grows in  Mountains, riversides; 100-800. Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Zhejiang

Description:
Cynanchum glaucescens is a perennial Climber growing to 0.6m.
It is hardy to zone 0. It is in flower from June to October, and the seeds ripen from July to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
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The Herbs is rhizomatous, roots fibrous, fascicled at nodes. Stems erect, to 60 cm, pubescent along 2 lines. Leaves opposite, subsessile; leaf blade glabrous, elliptic, oblong-lanceolate, or oblong, 1-7 cm × 7-12 mm, base cuneate or rounded, apex rounded to ± acute; lateral veins 3-5 pairs, obscure. Inflorescences umbel-like, sometimes with 2 cymules separated by a short rachis, shorter than leaves, glabrous or puberulent. Sepals oblong-lanceolate, ca. 2.3 × 1 mm, glabrous, basal glands 5. Corolla yellow, rotate, ca. 8 mm in diam.; lobes ovate-oblong, ca. 3.5 × 2.3 mm, obtuse. Corona shallowly cupular, 5-lobed; lobes ovate, fleshy, incurved, slightly shorter than anthers and adnate to them. Pollinia ovoid. Stigma head convex. Follicles fusiform, 4.5-6 cm × 6-10 mm. Seeds oblong, ca. 5 mm; coma ca. 2 cm. Fl. May-Nov, fr. Jul-Dec.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it could succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. It probably does not have any special cultivation requirements and will probably succeed in most soils in a sunny position.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in the greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring.

Medicinal Uses:

Antitussive; Expectorant.

The fragrant root is used in Chinese medicine.  The roots and stems are used to treat coughs, pneumonia, uneasy breathing, and lung diseases.  They are also used in the treatment of asthma with profuse sputum, coughs etc.

The dried root and stem are antitussive and expectorant. They are used in the treatment of asthma with profuse sputum, coughs etc.

Known Hazards:There are some reports of toxins in this genus

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Cynanchum+glaucescens
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.showyourplant.com/Cynanchum_glaucescens/

http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200018553

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Zhe Bei Mu (Fritillaria thunbergii )

Botanical Name : Fritillaria thunbergii
Family:
Liliaceae
Genus:
Fritillaria
Species:
F. thunbergii
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Liliales

Synonyms : F. collicola. Hance. F. verticillata thunbergii.

Common Name :Zhe Bei Mu

Habitat :Fritillaria thunbergii is native to China and Japan . It grows in bamboo forests, shady and moist places from near sea level to 600 metres.

Description:
Fritillaria thunbergii is a bulb growing to 0.6 m (2ft).  It has linear leaves that are whorled on the top where there are also tendril-like tips. Flowers are cream-colored, flecked or tessellated green. This species needs to be planted deeply. It is in flower from Mar to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is hardy to zone 8.

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The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Best grown in a moist peaty soil in the open garden[90]. Easily grown in a moderately fertile soil in sun or semi-shade. Succeeds in drier soils and is drought tolerant when established. The dormant bulbs are fairly hardy and will withstand soil temperatures down to at least -5°c. The scaly bulbs are best planted on their sides or surrounded in sand to prevent water collecting in their hollow crowns. This species is cultivated as a medicinal plant in Europe and Asia. Plants take 3 – 5 years to flower from seed.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring. Protect from frost. Stored seed should be sown as soon as possible and can take a year or more to germinate. Sow the seed quite thinly to avoid the need to prick out the seedlings. Once they have germinated, give them an occasional liquid feed to ensure that they do not suffer mineral deficiency. Once they die down at the end of their second growing season, divide up the small bulbs, planting 2 – 3 to an 8cm deep pot. Grow them on for at least another year in light shade in the greenhouse before planting them out whilst dormant. Division of offsets in August. The larger bulbs can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, but it is best to pot up the smaller bulbs and grow them on in a cold frame for a year before planting them out in the autumn. Bulb scales

Edible Uses: Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root.

Bulb – fried or candied. The bulb is up to 3cm in diameter. Young plants and buds – cooked

Medicinal Uses:
Antitussive;  ExpectorantFebrifuge.

The bulbs are antidote, antitussive, astringent, expectorant, galactogogue and purgative. They contain fritimine which diminishes excitability of respiratory centres, paralyses voluntary movement and counters effects of opium. The bulbs are thought to act specifically on tumours and swellings of the throat, neck and chest, and they are taken in the treatment of thyroid gland nodules, scrofula, abscesses and boils and breast cancer. The bulb is used internally in the treatment of coughs, bronchitis, pneumonia, feverish illnesses, abscesses etc. The bulbs also have a folk history of use against cancer of the breast and lungs in China. This remedy should only be used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner, excessive doses can cause breathing difficulties and heart failure. The bulbs are harvested in the winter whilst they are dormant and are dried for later use.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fritillaria_thunbergii
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Fritillaria+thunbergii
http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/AsianFritillariaTwo

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Chemotherapy

Definition:
Chemotherapy is a medical treatment that is needed in order to stop cancer cells from growing and its tracks. Chemotherapy is extremely effective in treating cancer. It is even more effective when it is used with other treatments like radiotherapy. It is also sometimes needed to relief the symptoms, and it is design to give a longer life by causing the disease to go into remission-the stage in which there are no active symptoms.  Chemotherapy works differently than surgery or radiotherapy – two other treatments designed to fight against the cancer as well. Chemotherapy drugs travel throughout the whole body. This is important because it allows the durgs to reach part of the body where the cancer cells may have spread out. In combination with surgery means that fewer surgical procedures need to be done. Follow-up surgery can often be avoided if chemotherapy is used.

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On the other hand, radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, is the use of high energy rays to treat such disease. Is it very important to know that radiation causes damage to cancer cells, so they stop growing. With each treatment, more of the cells die and the tumor shrinks. The dead cells break down and are carried away by the blood, eventually passing out of the body. Normal cells that are also exposed to the radiation process start to repair themselves afterwards, and the process lasts just a few hours. You might be concerned that radiation hurts, but is actually quite painless. Also, in case you are wondering, the radiation gets into your body and then passes out -it does not cause you to become radioactive.

To understand how chemotherapy works, it is helpful to know some basics about the cells of the body. Everything in your body is made up of cells. A group of cells is called tissue and tissues make up all the organs, the major structures of your body. Tissue stays healthy because cells grow and reproduce, new cells replace the ones that are damaged because of injury. This means that a combination of drugs may be used to attack cancer cells so that each drug can attack the cells in a different phase.

Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells in the body grow and multiply at a very high rate. There are more than 100 specific types of cancer cells. Cancer also may involve the spread of abnormal cells around the body. Normal cells in our body grow, divide, and die in a way that maintains health and does not damage the body. A majority for the cancer cases are due to age issues because of the fact that in adulthood your cells divide only to replace worn-out or dying cells, or in other cases, to repair injuries. Cells make up all living tissue and stronger throughout your childhood. But cancer cells continue to grow and divide, even though they are no serving in any of the vital functions, and can spread to other parts in the body. These cells clump together and form tumors (lumps) that may destroy normal tissue. If cells break off from a tumor, they can travel  throughout the blood stream or the lymphatic system. When they settle in and grow; eventually, forming other tumors. When a tumor spreads out to a new place, it is called metastasis. Even when cancer spreads, it’s called by the name of the body where it originally started and developed. Leukemia, a type of cancer growing, does not usually form a tumor, it is an exception to the rule. The cancer cells get into the blood and the organs that make blood bone narrow, then they circulate through other tissues, where they eventually develop and grow.

Chemotherapy damages cancer cells, but it also can damage normal cells. Damage to these cells is what causes the side effects of chemotherapy treatment. For instance normal cells that divide quickly, such as blood cells and the cells of hair follicles, are more likely to be damaged by chemotherapy medications. In other words, in healthy cells the damage does not last, and many only happen on the days you are actually taking the drugs. Chemotherapy is usually given is several cycles. Depending on the drug and combination, it may last to a few hours, days, or weeks.

How Chemotherapy Is Given
Just as other medicines can be taken in various forms, there are several ways to get chemotherapy. In most cases, it’s given intravenously into a vein, also referred to as an IV. An IV is a tiny tube inserted into a vein through the skin, usually in the arm. The IV is attached to a bag that holds the medicine. The chemo medicine flows from the bag into the vein, which puts the medicine into the bloodstream. Once the medicine is in the blood, it can travel through the body and attack cancer cells.

Sometimes, a permanent IV called a catheter is placed under the skin into a larger blood vessel of the upper chest. That way, a child can get chemotherapy and other medicines through the catheter without having to always use a vein in the arm. The catheter remains under the skin until all the cancer treatment is completed. It can also be used to obtain blood samples and for other treatments, such as blood transfusions, without repeated needle sticks.

Chemo also can be:

•taken as a pill, capsule, or liquid that is swallowed
•given by injection into a muscle or the skin
•injected into spinal fluid through a needle inserted into a fluid-filled space in the lower spine (below the spinal cord)

Chemotherapy is sometimes used along with other cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy, surgery, or biological therapy (the use of substances to boost the body’s immune system while fighting cancer).

Lots of kids and teens receive combination therapy, which is the use of two or more cancer-fighting drugs. In many cases, combination therapy lessens the chance that a child’s cancer will become resistant to one type of drug — and improves the chances that the cancer will be cured.

When and Where Chemotherapy Is Given
Depending on the method used to administer chemotherapy, it may be given at a hospital, cancer treatment center, doctor’s office, or at home. Many kids receive chemotherapy on an outpatient basis at a clinic or hospital. Others may need to be hospitalized to monitor or treat side effects.

Kids may receive chemotherapy every day, every week, or every month. Doctors sometimes use the term “cycles” to describe a child’s chemotherapy because the treatment periods are interspersed with periods of rest so the child can recover and regain strength.

Dosage :
Dosage of chemotherapy can be difficult: If the dose is too low, it will be ineffective against the tumor, whereas, at excessive doses, the toxicity (side effects, neutropenia) will be intolerable to the patient. This has led to the formation of detailed “dosing schemes” in most hospitals, which give guidance on the correct dose and adjustment in case of toxicity. In immunotherapy, they are in principle used in smaller dosages than in the treatment of malignant diseases.

In most cases, the dose is adjusted for the patient’s body surface area, a measure that correlates with blood volume. The BSA is usually calculated with a mathematical formula or a nomogram, using a patient’s weight and height, rather than by direct measurement.

Side Effects:
Although chemo often effectively damages or eliminates cancer cells, it also can damage normal, healthy cells. And this can lead to some uncomfortable side effects.

The good news is that most side effects are temporary — as the body’s normal cells recover, the side effects gradually go away.

Cancer treatment is multifaceted — that is, patients receive a lot of care (i.e., fluid and nutrition support, transfusion support, physical therapy, and medicines) to help them tolerate the treatments and treat or prevent side effects such as nausea and vomiting.

It’s difficult to pinpoint which side effects a  patient might experience, how long they’ll last, and when they’ll end.

The common side effects are:
1.Fatigue
2.Discomfort and Pain
3.Skin Damage or Changes
4.Hair Loss and Scalp Sensitivity
5.Mouth, Gum, and Throat Sores
6.Gastrointestinal Problems

Other side effects are:
•Anemia
•Blood Clotting
•Increased Risk of Infection

Chemo may cause a reduction in white blood cells, which are part of the immune system and help the body to fight infection. Therefore,  the patient  is more vulnerable to developing infections during and after chemo.

•Long-Term Side Effects
Chemotherapy can cause long-term side effects (sometimes called late effects), depending on the type and dose of chemotherapy and whether it was combined with radiation. These effects may involve any organ, including the heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, liver, thyroid gland, and reproductive organs. Some types of chemotherapy drugs may also increase the risk of cancer later in life. Receiving chemo during childhood also may place some kids at risk for delayed growth and cognitive development, depending on the child’s age, the type of drug used, the dosage, and whether chemotherapy was used in addition to radiation therapy.

Newer anticancer drugs act directly against abnormal proteins in cancer cells; this is termed targeted therapy and is technically not chemotherapy.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://englendd.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/chemotherapy/
http://kidshealth.org/parent/system/ill/chemotherapy.html#
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemotherapy

http://medicineworld.org/cancer/lead/11-2008/concurrent-chemotherapy-in-lung-cancer.html

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Swine Flu

Other Names: Pig influenza, hog flu and pig flu.

Description:
Swine flu (also swine influenza) refers to influenza caused by any strain of the influenza virus endemic in pigs (swine). Strains endemic in swine are called swine influenza virus (SIV).

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Swine flu is common in swine and rare in humans. People who work with swine, especially people with intense exposures, are at risk of catching swine influenza if the swine carry a strain able to infect humans. However, these strains rarely are able to pass from human to human. Rarely, SIV mutates into a form able to pass easily from human to human. The strain responsible for the 2009 swine flu outbreak is believed to have undergone such a mutation. This virus is named swine flu because one of its surface proteins is similar to viruses that usually infects pigs, but this strain is spreading in people and it is unknown if it infects pigs.

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It is an infection caused by any one of several types of swine influenza viruses. Swine influenza virus (SIV) or swine-origin influenza virus (S-OIV) is any strain of the influenza family of viruses that is endemic in pigs.As of 2009, the known SIV strains include influenza C and the subtypes of influenza A known as H1N1, H1N2, H2N1, H3N1, H3N2, and H2N3.

In humans, the symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of influenza and of influenza-like illness in general, namely chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache, coughing, weakness and general discomfort. The strain responsible for the 2009 swine flu outbreak in most cases causes only mild symptoms and the infected person makes a full recovery without  requiring medical attention and without the use of antiviral medicines.

Of the three genera of human flu, two are endemic also in swine: Influenzavirus A (common) and Influenzavirus C (rare). Influenzavirus B has not been reported in swine. Within Influenzavirus A and Influenzavirus C, the strains endemic to swine and humans are largely distinct.

History:
The swine flu is likely a descendant of the infamous “Spanish flu” that caused a devastating pandemic in humans in 1918–1919. In less than a year, that pandemic killed more an estimated 50 million people worldwide. Descendants of this virus have persisted in pigs; they probably circulated in humans until the appearance of the Asian flu in 1957, and reemerged in 1977. Direct transmission from pigs to humans is rare, with 12 cases in the U.S. since 2005.

The flu virus is perhaps the trickiest known to medical science; it constantly changes form to elude the protective antibodies that the body has developed in response to previous exposures to influenza or to influenza vaccines. Every two or three years the virus undergoes minor changes. Then, at intervals of roughly a decade, after the bulk of the world’s population has developed some level of resistance to these minor changes, it undergoes a major shift that enables it to tear off on yet another pandemic sweep around the world, infecting hundreds of millions of people who suddenly find their antibody defenses outflanked. Even during the Spanish flu pandemic, the initial wave of the disease was relatively mild and the second wave was highly lethal.In 1957, an Asian flu pandemic infected some 45 million Americans and killed 70,000. Eleven years later, lasting from 1968 to

1969, the Hong Kong flu pandemic afflicted 50 million Americans and caused 33,000 deaths, costing approximately $3.9 billion.

In 1976, about 500 soldiers became infected with swine flu over a period of a few weeks. However, by the end of the month investigators found that the virus had “mysteriously disappeared” and there were no more signs of swine flu anywhere on the post.  There were isolated cases around the U.S. but those cases were supposedly to individuals who caught the virus from pigs.

Medical researchers worldwide, recognizing that the swine flu virus might again mutate into something as deadly as the Spanish flu, were carefully watching the latest 2009 outbreak of swine flu and making contingency plans for a possible global pandemic.

Swine influenza virus is common throughout pig populations worldwide. Transmission of the virus from pigs to humans is not common and does not always lead to human flu, often resulting only in the production of antibodies in the blood. If transmission does cause human flu, it is called zoonotic swine flu. People with regular exposure to pigs are at increased risk of swine flu infection.

Around the mid-20th century, identification of influenza subtypes became possible, allowing accurate diagnosis of transmission to humans. Since then, only 50 such transmissions have been confirmed. These strains of swine flu rarely pass from human to human. Symptoms of zoonotic swine flu in humans are similar to those of influenza and of influenza-like illness in general, namely chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache, coughing, weakness and general discomfort.

In August 2010, the World Health Organization declared the swine flu pandemic officially over.

Cases of swine flu have been reported in India, with over 31,156 positive test cases and 1,841 deaths till March 2015.

Signs and symptoms:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in humans the symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of influenza and of influenza-like illness in general. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. The 2009 outbreak has shown an increased percentage of patients reporting diarrhea and vomiting.

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Because these symptoms are not specific to swine flu, 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. For example, during the 2009 swine flu outbreak in the United States, CDC advised physicians to “consider swine influenza infection in the differential diagnosis of patients with acute febrile respiratory illness who have either been in contact with persons with confirmed swine flu, or who were in one of the five U.S. states that have reported swine flu cases or in Mexico during the 7 days preceding their illness onset.” A diagnosis of confirmed swine flu requires laboratory testing of a respiratory sample (a simple nose and throat swab)……click & see

Pathophysiology
Influenza viruses bind through hemagglutinin onto sialic acid sugars on the surfaces of epithelial cells; typically in the nose, throat and lungs of mammals and intestines of birds (Stage 1 in infection figure).

Swine flu in humans:
People who work with poultry and swine, especially people with intense exposures, are at increased risk of zoonotic infection with influenza virus endemic in these animals, and constitute a population of human hosts in which zoonosis and reassortment can co-occur. Transmission of influenza from swine to humans who work with swine was documented in a small surveillance study performed in 2004 at the University of Iowa. This study among others forms the basis of a recommendation that people whose jobs involve handling poultry and swine be the focus of increased public health surveillance. The 2009 swine flu outbreak is an apparent reassortment of several strains of influenza A virus subtype H1N1, including a strain endemic in humans and two strains endemic in pigs, as well as an avian influenza.

The CDC reports that the symptoms and transmission of the swine flu from human to human is much like that of seasonal flu. Common symptoms include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing, while runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. It is believed to be spread between humans through coughing or sneezing of infected people and touching something with the virus on it and then touching their own nose or mouth. Swine flu cannot be spread by pork products, since the virus is not transmitted through food. The swine flu in humans is most contagious during the first five days of the illness although some people, most commonly children, can remain contagious for up to ten days. Diagnosis can be made by sending a specimen, collected during the first five days, to the CDC for analysis.

The swine flu is susceptible to four drugs licensed in the United States, amantadine, rimantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir; however, for the 2009 outbreak it is recommended it be treated under medical advice only with oseltamivir and zanamivir to avoid drug resistance. The vaccine for the human seasonal H1N1 flu does not protect against the swine H1N1 flu, as they are antigenically very different.

Causes:
The cause of the 2009 swine flu was an influenza A virus type designated as H1N1. In 2011, a new swine flu virus was detected. The new strain was named influenza A (H3N2)v. Only a few people (mainly children) were first infected, but officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported increased numbers of people infected in the 2012-2013 flu season. Currently, there are not large numbers of people infected with H3N2v. Unfortunately, another virus termed H3N2 (note no “v” in its name) has been detected and caused flu, but this strain is different from H3N2v. In general, all of the influenza A viruses have a structure similar to the H1N1 virus; each type has a somewhat different H and/or N structure.

Complications Of Swine Flu And Higher Risk Individuals:-

Those at higher risk include those with the following:
*Age of 65 years or older
*Chronic health problems (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease)
*Pregnant women
*Young children

Complications (for all patients but especially for those at higher risk) can include:
*Pneumonia
*Bronchitis
*Sinus infections
*Ear infections
*Death

Diagnosis :-
1. A respiratory sample collected within the first five days of illness will be collected.

2. The sample is sent to the CDC for laboratory analysis and confirmation.

At this time the CDC is recommending the use of oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) for treatment and/or prevention of Swine flu.

Why is swine flu now infecting humans?

Many researchers now consider that two main series of events can lead to swine flu (and also avian or bird flu) becoming a major cause for influenza illness in humans.

First, the influenza viruses (types A, B, C) are enveloped RNA viruses with a segmented genome; this means the viral RNA genetic code is not a single strand of RNA but exists as eight different RNA segments in the influenza viruses. A human (or bird) influenza virus can infect a pig respiratory cell at the same time as a swine influenza virus; some of the replicating RNA strands from the human virus can get mistakenly enclosed inside the enveloped swine influenza virus. For example, one cell could contain eight swine flu and eight human flu RNA segments. The total number of RNA types in one cell would be 16; four swine and four human flu RNA segments could be incorporated into one particle, making a viable eight RNA-segmented flu virus from the 16 available segment types. Various combinations of RNA segments can result in a new subtype of virus (this process is known as antigenic shift) that may have the ability to preferentially infect humans but still show characteristics unique to the swine influenza virus . It is even possible to include RNA strands from birds, swine, and human influenza viruses into one virus if a single cell becomes infected with all three types of influenza (for example, two bird flu, three swine flu, and three human flu RNA segments to produce a viable eight-segment new type of flu viral genome). Formation of a new viral type is considered to be antigenic shift; small changes within an individual RNA segment in flu viruses are termed antigenic drift   and result in minor changes in the virus. However, these small genetic changes can accumulate over time to produce enough minor changes that cumulatively alter the virus’ makeup over time (usually years).

Second, pigs can play a unique role as an intermediary host to new flu types because pig respiratory cells can be infected directly with bird, human, and other mammalian flu viruses. Consequently, pig respiratory cells are able to be infected with many types of flu and can function as a “mixing pot” for flu RNA segments . Bird flu viruses, which usually infect the gastrointestinal cells of many bird species, are shed in bird feces. Pigs can pick these viruses up from the environment, and this seems to be the major way that bird flu virus RNA segments enter the mammalian flu virus population.

Present vaccination strategies for SIV control and prevention in swine farms, typically include the use of one of several bivalent SIV vaccines commercially available in the United States. Of the 97 recent H3N2 isolates examined, only 41 isolates had strong serologic cross-reactions with antiserum to three commercial SIV vaccines. Since the protective ability of influenza vaccines depends primarily on the closeness of the match between the vaccine virus and the epidemic virus, the presence of nonreactive H3N2 SIV variants suggests that current commercial vaccines might not effectively protect pigs from infection with a majority of H3N2 viruses.

swine_flu_h1_n1

Treatment
In response to requests from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on April 27, 2009 the FDA issued Emergency Use Authorizations to make available diagnostic and therapeutic tools to identify and respond to the swine influenza virus under certain circumstances. The agency issued these EUAs for the use of certain Relenza and Tamiflu antiviral drugs, and for the rRT-PCR Swine Flu Panel diagnostic test.

The CDC recommends the use of Tamiflu (oseltamivir) or Relenza (zanamivir) for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses, however, the majority of people infected with the virus make a full recovery without requiring medical attention or antiviral drugs The virus isolates that have been tested from the US and Mexico are however resistant to amantadine and rimantadine. If a person gets sick, antiviral drugs can make the illness milder and make the patient feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms).

Antiviral Stockpiles:
Some countries have issued orders to stockpile antivirals . These typically have an expiry date of five years after manufacturing.

Preparedness
To maintain a secure household during a pandemic flu, the Water Quality & Health Council recommends keeping as supplies food and bottled water, portable power sources and chlorine bleach as an emergency water purifier and surface sanitizer.

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Prevention.

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Prevention of swine influenza has three components:-(1) prevention in swine, (2) prevention of transmission to humans, and (3)  prevention of its spread among humans.

(1)Prevention in swine
Swine influenza has become a greater problem in recent decades as the evolution of the virus has resulted in inconsistent responses to traditional vaccines. Standard commercial swine flu vaccines are effective in controlling the infection when the virus strains match enough to have significant cross-protection, and custom (autogenous) vaccines made from the specific viruses isolated are created and used in the more difficult cases.

(2) Prevention of transmission to humans
There are antiviral medicines you can take to prevent or treat swine flu. There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. You can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza by

*Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
*Washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. You can also use alcohol-based hand cleaners.
*Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
*Trying to avoid close contact with sick people.
*Staying home from work or school if you are sick.

(3) Prevention of spread in humans
Recommendations to prevent spread of the virus among humans include using standard infection control against influenza. This includes frequent washing of hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially after being out in public. Vaccines against the H1N1 strain in the 2009 human outbreak are being developed and could be ready as early as June 2009.

Experts agree that hand-washing can help prevent viral infections, a surprisingly effective way to prevent all sorts of diseases, including ordinary influenza and the new swine flu virus. Influenza can spread in coughs or sneezes, but an increasing body of evidence shows little particles of virus can linger on tabletops, telephones and other surfaces and be transferred via the fingers to the mouth, nose or eyes. Alcohol-based gel or foam hand sanitizers work well to destroy viruses and bacteria. Anyone with flu-like symptoms such as a sudden fever, cough or muscle aches should stay away from work or public transportation and should see a doctor to be tested.

Social distancing is another tactic. It means staying away from other people who might be infected and can include avoiding large gatherings, spreading out a little at work, or perhaps staying home and lying low if an infection is spreading in a community.

You may click to see the latest information & instruction from WHO about the spread of swine flu

Click to see:-:>Critical Alert: The Swine Flu Pandemic – Fact or Fiction?

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swine_influenza

http://diseases-viruses.suite101.com/article.cfm/swine_flu_symptoms_treatment_and_prevention

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/swineflu.html

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