ibnlive » Health

Apr 28, 2009 at 12:04am IST

India issues travel advisory about Swine Flu

New Delhi: The Indian government has issued travel advisories to its citizens who are traveling to the US, Mexico and Canada.

The World Health Organization has declared Swine Flu outbreak a "public health emergency of international concern."

Up to 103 people have died of the disease in Mexico alone while more than 1,500 cases are under observation. Canada has reported six cases, and the US, has reported 20 cases which have been categorised as being mild. In Washington, the US government has declared a public health emergency.

Spain has confirmed the first case of swine flu in Europe, while Israel and New Zealand too are investigating cases of swine flu.

Fears that it may turn into a pandemic has prompted the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Health Ministry to propose preventive action.

Screening of passengers at six airports has already begun and the Centre prepares for a possible outbreak.

The Director General of ICMR, V M Katoj said, “If you have a suspect, there will be medical doctors at the airport, and if they suspect somebody (to be carrying the disease) then they quarantine that person and take specimen for investigation. We have already designated certain laboratories which will do the checking.”

What is Swine Flu

It's a respiratory disease associated with pigs. But in this case the H1N1 strain of swine flu has affected humans and is spreading through human-to-human contact, which means it can continue to mutate, making it hard to treat.

What are the symptoms

The symptoms are similar to those of regular flu, such as fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills, fatigue, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Eating properly cooked pork does not spread the virus.

There is no vaccine for the virus, though experts recommend the use of Oseltamivir or Tamiflu which the Health Ministry in India, says it has enough stock of.