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THIS latest outbreak of swine flu is a new strain of influenza A virus, H1N1 - a mix of human and animal variants.

While humans have some natural immunity to ordinary seasonal flu they do not have such immunity to H1N1.

Experts believe this strain is closely related to strains that caused the 1918 pandemic which killed up to 40 million people worldwide.

People born before 1920 may have some natural resistance. Symptoms include fever, coughing, aching limbs, chills, fatigue and sore throats. Some have reported vomiting and diarrhoea.

Severe respiratory symptoms may develop in to pneumonia. Good hygiene such as washing hands, disposing of dirty tissues and cleaning door handles is advised.

Anyone suffering flu-like symptoms should call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or call their GP but NOT visit. Anti-flu drugs will be available at a collection point.
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 14, 2009
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