The H1N1 virus (swine flu) is a new flu virus strain that is causing illnesses in humans worldwide.
In June 2009, the World Health Organization declared a worldwide swine flu pandemic.
Earlier forms of the H1N1 virus were found in pigs. Over time, the virus changed (mutated) and can now infect humans. Because H1N1 is a new virus in humans, your immune system cannot fight the virus very well. As a result, it has spread quickly around the world.
The largest number of H1N1 flu cases have occurred in people ages 5 - 24. Few cases, and no deaths, have been reported in people older than age 64.
The H1N1 flu virus can spread from person to person when:
- Someone with the flu coughs or sneezes into air that others breathe in.
- Someone touches a door knob, desk, computer, or counter with the H1N1 germs on it and then touches their mouth, eyes, or nose.
- Someone touches mucus of a child or others while taking care of them when they are ill with the H1N1 flu virus
You CANNOT get H1N1 flu virus from eating pork or any other food, drinking water, swimming in pools, or using a hot tubs or saunas.