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H1N1 (Swine Flu) Update

On June 11, 2009, in response to the spread of the H1N1 flu virus to more than 70 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6, indicating a global pandemic is underway.

It is important to note that WHO?s decision to raise the pandemic alert level to Phase 6 is a reflection of the spread of the virus, not the severity of illness caused by the virus, and most patients with confirmed cases have experienced mild symptoms and quick recoveries.

The H1N1 flu has proven to be no more dangerous than the strains of flu that are in continuous circulation around the globe, and despite the alert level, WHO is not recommending travel restrictions or border closures due to the potential spread of H1N1 flu.

The symptoms of swine flu are very similar to those of the common human influenzas: fever, cough, sore throat, aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Like the seasonal human flus, swine flu can vary from mild to severe.

There are ways you can protect yourself from contracting the flu -- swine or otherwise. The most important include frequent hand washing with soap and water; not touching your eyes, nose or mouth; and avoiding contact with other people who are sick.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

U.S. State Department