Swine flu facts

May 01, 2009

Questions and answers about swine flu from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more, go to The Web site is updated regularly as new information becomes available.

Can humans catch swine flu?

Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, occasional human infections with swine flu have occurred. Most commonly, these cases occur in people with direct exposure to pigs (for example, workers in the swine industry or children who come within three feet of pigs at a fair).

How common is swine flu infection in humans?

In the past, CDC received reports of about one human swine influenza virus infection every one to two years in the United States. But from December 2005 through February 2009, 12 cases of human infection with swine influenza have been reported.

What are the symptoms of swine flu in humans?

The symptoms of swine flu in people are generally similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza - fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.


Can people catch swine flu from eating pork?

No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person to person through coughing or sneezing by infected people.

How does swine flu spread?

Influenza viruses can be directly transmitted from pigs to people and from people to pigs. Close contact - generally within three feet - is required for transmission. Human infection with flu viruses from pigs are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to infected pigs, such as in pig barns and livestock exhibits housing pigs at fairs.

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