What is the role of lab testing in the workup of H1N1 influenza (swine flu)?

Updated: Apr 09, 2019
  • Author: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

Outbreaks of H1N1 influenza (swine flu) are common in pigs year-round. Historically, when humans have become infected, it is a result of close contact with infected pigs (but not consumption of pork). However, the current virus is a novel influenza A (H1N1) virus not previously identified in humans, and it appears to be spread by human-to-human transmission.

The WHO has raised its pandemic alert level for H1N1 influenza to phase 6, which means that community-level outbreaks are in at least one additional country in a different WHO region from phase 5. A global pandemic is under way. See the image below.

Phase 6 criteria: In addition to the criteria defi Phase 6 criteria: In addition to the criteria defined in Phase 5, the same virus has caused sustained community-level outbreaks in at least one other country in another WHO region. Courtesy of the WHO.

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