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Food for thought

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  21 Feb 2015 12:00 AM GMT

How does swine flu spread? West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee thinks the disease spreads through mosquito bites. She also believes while the disease can be treated, it cannot be prevented. Because in her own words: "It is nowadays a free earth, all human beings are travelling from here to there, it mostly happens from mosquito bites and various other reasons..." However Mumbai Mayor Snehal Ambekar would surely disagree. She believes swine flu is a ‘heart disease’. And how does she propose to check its spread? The good Mayor thinks ‘planting trees, developing gardens and parks’ will do the trick. So the common man in West Bengal or Mumbai will be mystified what precautions to take, with swine flu back in the headlines again. Already more than 11 thousand people across the country have come down with this disease. The death toll has crossed 700. States like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Harya are badly hit. With even some leaders and senior public officials confused about swine flu, turally the man in the street has many questions. Does it spread through mosquito bite? Unlike Japanese encephalitis, dengue or malaria, swine flu does not spread through mosquitoes. Will eating pork cause swine flu? Health experts assure it is not likely to happen. How does swine flu spread so fast? Because the H1N1 virus causing swine flu is highly contagious, spreading quickly from person to person through cough, sneeze or contact. The virus can linger on surfaces like tabletops and door knobs, waiting to be picked up. So washing hands regularly with soap, staying away from infected individuals and wearing masks can be helpful. Is there any medicine for swine flu? Reportedly, two antiviral agents Relenza and Tamiflu are giving good results. Above all, epidemics have to be combated through public awareness. Information is power in this case too. It helps to know that there are influenza strains that can equally infect pigs, birds and humans. Inside the body of the host, influenza viruses can exchange genes, producing newer and dangerous strains which mankind must fight again. It is an ancient battle that goes on and on.

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