What We Need To Know Now

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Andrew Pekosz, an associate professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, answers some common questions about swine flu.

-- Rachel Saslow

How is swine flu different from other flus?

Swine flu, or 2009 H1N1, is a virus that is a chimera -- a mix of a number of human, swine and avian influenza virus genes. Most important, it contains a surface protein, H1, that has not been seen in the human population before, so very few people have any immunity from infection with this virus.

What are the typical symptoms?

The symptoms are very similar to those of seasonal flu: high fever, cough, aches and pains, sneezing and feeling very tired. In some people, such as pregnant women, the disease can progress to a serious form involving shortness of breath and other severe complications.

Who appears to be most at risk for catching it?

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