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Novel H1N1 in Humans

Novel H1N1 (swine flu) is a relatively new influenza virus affecting humans. This new virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. This virus is spread from person-to-person in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread.

The symptoms of the H1N1 flu are much the same as the regular flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with H1N1 also have reported diarrhea and vomiting. Severe illness and death have occurred as a result of this virus. Read the Centers For Disease Control’s H1N1 Flu (“Swine Flu”) and You for more information about swine flu in humans.

Prevention and Treatment

To protect yourself from any virus, make sure to read Schiffert Health Center's information on the cold and flu. If you develop flu-like symptoms, be sure to read What to do if You Have an Influenza-like Illness (ILI).

A vaccine has been developed to protect against novel H1N1 and is available to the public. If you believe that you have contracted the H1N1 virus, seek medical attention immediately. Your healthcare provider may offer antiviral prophylaxis with either zanamivir (Relenza) or oseltamivir (Tamiflu) for:

  • Close contacts of cases (confirmed, probable, or suspected) that are at high-risk for complications of influenza.
  • Healthcare personnel, public health workers, or first responders who have had a recognized, unprotected close contact exposure to a person with novel H1N1 virus infection during that person’s infections period (one day before to seven days after the onset of illness).
  • Close contact is defined as having cared for or lived with a person who is a confirmed, probable or suspected case of novel influenza A (H1N1), or having been in a setting where there was a high likelihood of contact with respiratory droplets and/or body fluids of such a person. Examples include: kissing or embracing, sharing eating or drinking utensils, physical examination, or any other contact between persons likely to result in exposure to respiratory droplets. Close contact typically does not include activities such as walking by an infected person or sitting across from a symptomatic patient in a waiting room or office.