This particular strain of the swine influenza A/H1N1 virus has not been previously detected in pigs or humans. Therefore it is a new virus strain and more importantly, it is believed that human-to-human transmission has occurred.
For this reason this new virus has the potential to cause a pandemic. However, based upon the currently available laboratory, epidemiological, and clinical evidence, we do not know if it will cause a pandemic.
It is also difficult to predict what kind of illness might result from infection with this virus.
WHO has requested all nations to intensify surveillance for unusual outbreaks of influenza-like illness and severe pneumonia.
The Vietnam Ministry of Health (MOH) has responded quickly to this request. Although no cases of the new swine flu have been detected in Vietnam, MOH is undertaking preparations should any be identified.
WHO Vietnam and MOH are working closely to develop best practices and protocols in laboratory diagnosis, quarantine, clinical case management, infection control and logistics specific to this situation.
WHO is able to mobilize a stockpile of antiviral drugs should they become necessary.
WHO preliminary advice:
Our standard precautions remain in place: Cover your cough or sneeze with a mask or a tissue or your sleeve; maintain good personal hygiene. Wash your hands frequently WITH SOAP and avoid touching your face; avoid obviously sick people; stay at home if you are unwell; see your doctor if you have fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
Eating pork: Pork meat remains safe to eat as long as it is handled appropriately and cooked thoroughly.
If you have traveled to an affected area (Mexico, USA) in the last 7 days: Monitor your health; if you develop symptoms seek medical attention; advise the healthcare facility that you have recently been in an area that has reported swine flu.
Travel advisory: WHO has not recommended border screening (entry/exit screening) at this stage; WHO has not recommended travel restrictions to the countries currently experiencing human swine influenza (Mexico and USA) at this stage; and WHO is not recommending any international border closures at this stage.
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