Science is Sexy: What is Swine (H1N1) Flu? How Does an Animal Disease Spread to a Human Host?

Have you been watching the news at all recently?  If so, you’ve probably heard the term “Swine Flu” or “H1N1 Flu” bouncing around a lot.  While most people come down with the normal human flu at some point, it’s not really a danger to anyone but the very young and the very old.  Why is this flu different and what does it have to do with pigs?

Many Influenza ParticlesEssentially, influenza (aka, “The Flu”) is a viral infection that attacks our population in a yearly cycle.  Fortunately, the human immune system is there to recognize and neutralize the effects of the virus.  Each year, the virus mutates just slightly and most of the population is once again susceptible to the disease.  This is why a new vaccine must be created regularly to reflect the most recent influenza mutants out in the environment.  Under normal circumstances, this is all you need to know about the flu (aside from how to avoid infection and take care of yourself if you do come down with it).

Recently, some changes in the status quo have raised alarm bells at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).  There have been reports of “swine flu” in Mexico and several other countries whose citizens regularly visit Mexico, including the United States.  Since this is a general information article and not a “minute by minute” report, refer to major news outlets for more accurate information regarding confirmed cases.  As of this moment, though, it looks like over 80 deaths in Mexico are the result of contact with swine flu and there have been confirmed cases of the new pathogen in New York, Ohio, Kansas, California, and possibly other states.

A Cross Section of an Influenza Virion, note the peplomeres around the outsidePutting the news figures aside for a moment, let me explain exactly what swine flu is.  The influenza virus has a number of components, but the most variable parts of the virus are the spines found around its exterior.  These are proteins called “peplomers” and there are two major kinds.  The HA (hemagglutinin) peplomer is responsible for binding the virus to host cells and the NA (neuraminidase) peplomer allows the virus to break its bonds to the host cell once it is ready to move on.  When you hear about the H1N1 virus or the H3N2 virus, the viruses are being referred to and classified by their external receptors.  This is a bit of a simplification, but knowing the chemical nature of the peplomers isn’t crucial to understanding their function.

The peplomers are a double edged sword.  They allow the viral particles access to the machinery of the cell (this is how viruses replicate themselves), but they also allow the immune system to recognize and target the virus.  When the human flu virus mutates its external proteins, the body’s defenses still recognize them and eventually mount a response (the period of sickness occurs while the body is developing that response).  If this failed to happen, you would eventually succumb to the virus and die.

The virus didn’t originate in humans, though.  Birds, pigs, and even horses have their own versions of influenza.  Remember the “bird flu” or “avian flu” scare a while ago?  Scientists feared the influenza common in birds had “jumped the species barrier” and begun infecting humans.  This is called a “zoonotic” disease – a disease that moves from animals to people.  Now, the same worries have arisen about swine flu.  Why does this matter?  Won’t our immune system just deal with the new influenza virus the same way it has always done with the seasonal one?

Unfortunately the answer is a weak “maybe.”  While your immune system might not immediately stop a new human influenza infection, it DOES recognize that new mutant and begin building a response.  Avian and swine peplomers, on the other hand, are not easily recognized by the human system because our evolution did not include pressure from those particular viruses.  As humans have come into close contact with the animals that carry these viruses, the animal influenza has been able to mutate enough to cross the species bridge and infect humans as well.  In the past this would not have been a global problem.  An infected village might just die out in isolation.  Things are different now: a traveler can become infected in one region and fly thousands of miles to another, long before they experience symptoms.

CDC LogoSo what’s the take away message from all of this?  Can we do anything about this?  Well as individuals it’s wise to go through the same sanitary practices as we might during flu season.  Also, traveling to places which have reported cases probably isn’t a great idea.  Governments and regulatory bodies like the CDC and the WHO are in an “all hands on deck” kind of status right now.  As the outbreaks continue (they are expected to grow for at least the time being), these groups will be tracking  any reported cases and trying to treat those infected.

As a young microbiologist, I’d say that for the moment we shouldn’t worry too much.  There are people who have spent their whole lives preparing for just these kinds of events and they’re currently working very hard to provide the public with the best information and advice.  Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the science behind influenza and zoonotic diseases.  I’ve put some links at the bottom of this posting for further reading.  Also, feel free to post a comment or @me on Twitter should you have any more questions.

Update: The World Health Organisation says that the Swine Influenza virus, or “Swine Flu” will now be named the Influenza A(H1N1) or just H1N1 flu.

Additional Resources:

By Jimmy Rogers
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

[First Image of Influenza Virus from El_Enigma on Flicker with CC | Second Image of Influenza Virus from AJC1 on Flicker with CC | CDC Logo from the FDA website, Geeks Are Sexy does not represent the CDC or any other government agency]





76 Responses to Science is Sexy: What is Swine (H1N1) Flu? How Does an Animal Disease Spread to a Human Host?

  1. Thank you for posting this. If its a 'new' disease and deaths haven't occurred in the US, how do they know where it is? In what time frame can we expect a cure?

    • Whew interesting questions:

      First, deaths haven't occured in the US but we HAVE isolated it from people who have fallen sick in the US. Essentially unless our drugs work, they simply haven't died "yet."

      This is because we don't have any kind of "cure" or even a vaccine. There is no "cure" for influenza, largely because it is a viral disease and antibiotics don't work on it. Influenza is a very tricky disease and there isn't too much we can do other than treat symptoms and try to help the immune system (or inhibit it, if that is the better option).

  2. An excellent book by Michael Greger MD that will teach you all about zoonotic diseases (avian flu, swine flu, AIDS, SARS, and others) is available full-text online at:

    http://birdflubook.com/g.php?id=5

    A fun and fascinating read. You'll know more than most doctors if you read this. Highly recommended.

  3. Thank you for posting this. If its a ‘new’ disease and deaths haven’t occurred in the US, how do they know where it is? In what time frame can we expect a cure?

    • Whew interesting questions:
      First, deaths haven’t occured in the US but we HAVE isolated it from people who have fallen sick in the US. Essentially unless our drugs work, they simply haven’t died “yet.”
      This is because we don’t have any kind of “cure” or even a vaccine. There is no “cure” for influenza, largely because it is a viral disease and antibiotics don’t work on it. Influenza is a very tricky disease and there isn’t too much we can do other than treat symptoms and try to help the immune system (or inhibit it, if that is the better option).

  4. Thank you for posting this since it gives me a new outlook on this whole situation. I live in Mexico City and we're in a sort of shutdown. All schools, pubs, clubs, movie theaters and anything that might means lots of people together is closed. Still, I think people are trying hard not to panic. However most young people aren't taking this seriously. They think that these 10 days with no school is like a second easter holiday. Even if the streets are pretty much deserted, you read all the crap they write online. Lots of mexican young adults think we are in resident evil or something as retarded as that. I've got this friend who says he's so excited about this whole situation because the sick will soon turn into zombies and then he will have a chance to go out and kick zombie ass. They think the government is cheating on us and that this situation is less serious than it sounds. Believe me, I know things can still be controled since you don't see people dying or coughing their brains out in the streets. But I also know this situation does deserve some seriousness to it.

    • Thanks for your "first hand report." Hope everything turns out ok for your city. I'm afraid my school will get struck and close down…really trying to graduate!

  5. Thank you for posting this since it gives me a new outlook on this whole situation. I live in Mexico City and we’re in a sort of shutdown. All schools, pubs, clubs, movie theaters and anything that might means lots of people together is closed. Still, I think people are trying hard not to panic. However most young people aren’t taking this seriously. They think that these 10 days with no school is like a second easter holiday. Even if the streets are pretty much deserted, you read all the crap they write online. Lots of mexican young adults think we are in resident evil or something as retarded as that. I’ve got this friend who says he’s so excited about this whole situation because the sick will soon turn into zombies and then he will have a chance to go out and kick zombie ass. They think the government is cheating on us and that this situation is less serious than it sounds. Believe me, I know things can still be controled since you don’t see people dying or coughing their brains out in the streets. But I also know this situation does deserve some seriousness to it.

    • Thanks for your “first hand report.” Hope everything turns out ok for your city. I’m afraid my school will get struck and close down…really trying to graduate!

  6. How does an animal disease spread to a human host? Mexicans screwing pigs. Just like how Africans screwing monkeys caused AIDS.

    • Woo, we have our first troll…unless you're just a moron.

      First of all, it's pretty well documented that HIV was probably caused by humans EATING animals, not having sex with them. Bushmeat consumption (exotic animals) is a problem in Africa and other regions because it exposes humans to pathogens that they are not able to fight off. It also allow for mutants to form that are more able to infect humans.

      Have you ever gotten the flu? Did it require you to have sex with someone else with the flu? No? They coughed on you and that was it? Oh ok…well that answers your question then.

      • just like what the first troll wrote that's the kind of crap most mexican kids are writing.

        Does this mutation might have to do with the fact that some parts of the pig's organism is very much alike to humans?

        • It has more to do with the similarity in receptors on the exteriors of human and pig cells. Probably in this case, similarities in the lung cells, where influenza likes to live.

        • FLORSIE… mexican kids arent stupid >.< they just have questions… and in order to know… you have to ask right?

          so shut up :)

    • I believe, although I may be wrong, that the virus underwent some sort of mutation making it contagious to humans.

  7. How does an animal disease spread to a human host? Mexicans screwing pigs. Just like how Africans screwing monkeys caused AIDS.

    • Woo, we have our first troll…unless you’re just a moron.

      First of all, it’s pretty well documented that HIV was probably caused by humans EATING animals, not having sex with them. Bushmeat consumption (exotic animals) is a problem in Africa and other regions because it exposes humans to pathogens that they are not able to fight off. It also allow for mutants to form that are more able to infect humans.

      Have you ever gotten the flu? Did it require you to have sex with someone else with the flu? No? They coughed on you and that was it? Oh ok…well that answers your question then.

      • just like what the first troll wrote that’s the kind of crap most mexican kids are writing.

        Does this mutation might have to do with the fact that some parts of the pig’s organism is very much alike to humans?

        • It has more to do with the similarity in receptors on the exteriors of human and pig cells. Probably in this case, similarities in the lung cells, where influenza likes to live.

        • FLORSIE… mexican kids arent stupid >.< they just have questions… and in order to know… you have to ask right?
          so shut up :)

    • I believe, although I may be wrong, that the virus underwent some sort of mutation making it contagious to humans.

  8. While loss of human life is never good … let's put this in perspective. 80 people have died from this. 42,636 people died in car crashes in the U.S. last year. I don't see national panic over driving. By definition, things in the news are in the news because they RARELY happen. It's not news if it happends everyday.

    • Oh well I was going to include this in a later article but if you go here:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic

      The 1918 Spanish flu killed between 20 to 100 million people. The current swine flu outbreak is similar to that one in respect to the types of people susceptible…young people with healthy immune systems. This really isn't a "normal flu" and if it got out of hand it might do some serious damage.

      I don't want to go fearmongering, but those are the historical facts…

    • "80 people have died from this. 42,636 people died in car crashes in the U.S. last year. I don’t see national panic over driving."

      Car crashes are not contagious.

  9. While loss of human life is never good … let’s put this in perspective. 80 people have died from this. 42,636 people died in car crashes in the U.S. last year. I don’t see national panic over driving. By definition, things in the news are in the news because they RARELY happen. It’s not news if it happends everyday.

    • Oh well I was going to include this in a later article but if you go here:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic

      The 1918 Spanish flu killed between 20 to 100 million people. The current swine flu outbreak is similar to that one in respect to the types of people susceptible…young people with healthy immune systems. This really isn't a "normal flu" and if it got out of hand it might do some serious damage.

      I don't want to go fearmongering, but those are the historical facts…

    • “80 people have died from this. 42,636 people died in car crashes in the U.S. last year. I don’t see national panic over driving.”

      Car crashes are not contagious.

  10. Did it ever occur to anyone that the Tamiflu tablets the Homeland security bought a couple of years ago have a expiration date and this is a good way to sell them to the rest of the world or Americans. No, did not think so.

    • First intelligent response I have seen yet here…..thank you for using the brain God gave you! I really hope THAT is contagious! Tamiflu has shone not to be the great "cure" it has been marketed for…..a lot of problems have come from it.And it has only shown to reduce the symptoms by about 36 hours. Eat a clean diet with lots of fresh vegetables,increase your vitamin C intake considerably, lots of clean water, and, oh so VERY IMPORTANT, lots of sunshine to increase your vitamin D intake !! That is science……do your homework ! Take some responsibility for your own health !!

  11. Did it ever occur to anyone that the Tamiflu tablets the Homeland security bought a couple of years ago have a expiration date and this is a good way to sell them to the rest of the world or Americans. No, did not think so.

    • First intelligent response I have seen yet here…..thank you for using the brain God gave you! I really hope THAT is contagious! Tamiflu has shone not to be the great “cure” it has been marketed for…..a lot of problems have come from it.And it has only shown to reduce the symptoms by about 36 hours. Eat a clean diet with lots of fresh vegetables,increase your vitamin C intake considerably, lots of clean water, and, oh so VERY IMPORTANT, lots of sunshine to increase your vitamin D intake !! That is science……do your homework ! Take some responsibility for your own health !!

  12. An excellent book by Michael Greger MD that will teach you all about zoonotic diseases (avian flu, swine flu, AIDS, SARS, and others) is available full-text online at:

    http://birdflubook.com/g.php?id=5

    A fun and fascinating read. You'll know more than most doctors if you read this. Highly recommended.

  13. Could you explain how a human would contract the flu from a pig? Would it be the same as you mentioned above with HIV?

    • Eating them might be possible, but since pigs have working lungs that can cough up the virus into the air the most likely route of transmission would be from pig lungs to human lungs. The viruses can float around on the air and also adhere to surfaces. Influenza is a very hearty virus and can withstand short periods outside a host (I believe).

  14. Could you explain how a human would contract the flu from a pig? Would it be the same as you mentioned above with HIV?

    • Eating them might be possible, but since pigs have working lungs that can cough up the virus into the air the most likely route of transmission would be from pig lungs to human lungs. The viruses can float around on the air and also adhere to surfaces. Influenza is a very hearty virus and can withstand short periods outside a host (I believe).

  15. Fascinating article. It really spells everything out well.

    Got a question, though. You say "Essentially, influenza (aka, “The Flu”) is a viral infection that attacks our population in a yearly cycle" Does this mean the flu is always present but only "active" for a certain period of time? If so, does anyone know what causes it to activate?

    Or is it the case that the flu is always around and active but, for example, the lower temperature during winter makes humans somehow more succeptable to catching it?

    • Your second statement is more right. During the colder months, people stay inside more and spread the disease more readily. People get colds and flus in the summer but a much smaller population is effected. Also, once you get it, or are exposed to it but don't show symptoms, you won't get it for the rest of the year, so that reduces the number of people who get it in the warm months too!

      Hope that helps!

  16. Fascinating article. It really spells everything out well.

    Got a question, though. You say “Essentially, influenza (aka, “The Flu”) is a viral infection that attacks our population in a yearly cycle” Does this mean the flu is always present but only “active” for a certain period of time? If so, does anyone know what causes it to activate?

    Or is it the case that the flu is always around and active but, for example, the lower temperature during winter makes humans somehow more succeptable to catching it?

    • Your second statement is more right. During the colder months, people stay inside more and spread the disease more readily. People get colds and flus in the summer but a much smaller population is effected. Also, once you get it, or are exposed to it but don’t show symptoms, you won’t get it for the rest of the year, so that reduces the number of people who get it in the warm months too!

      Hope that helps!

  17. hello everyone, and thank you for the posting of the article, its very interesting and also scary about this flu… i am 2 months pregnant and i am scared of getting this flu. it still leave people with a question mark about this flu? and how people are dying from it. i am from a state that is now affective with the flu… i am hoping that sciencist are now coming up with a cure flu for us…

  18. hello everyone, and thank you for the posting of the article, its very interesting and also scary about this flu… i am 2 months pregnant and i am scared of getting this flu. it still leave people with a question mark about this flu? and how people are dying from it. i am from a state that is now affective with the flu… i am hoping that sciencist are now coming up with a cure flu for us…

  19. They are saying that this flu is an actual mutation of pig, bird and human viruses combined…now if this is true then how is it possible for both a pig and birds virus to mutate and combine when they themselves are of 2 different species and also 2 completely different strands of flu viruses?

    If it was able to mutate enough that we were able to contract it from 2 different animals at once, what does that say about the rest of the species of the planet?

    • The best answer to your question would really be to explain exactly what a virus is. Viruses are packets of genetic material wrapped up in some kind of coating. Just because the virus infects an organism, it doesn't mean that it IS that organism. A pig influenza virus is…a virus. A human influenza virus is…a virus. Viruses of the same kind (or similar kind) can share their genetic material (in this case it's Double Stranded DNA) and mix and match. The virus isn't chained to one organism or another, it simply has different kinds of external proteins that can or cannot be recognized by the host immune systems. Also, if they mutate TOO much they will not be able to infect certain hosts.

      Honestly, don't let yourself drift into the "this seems like magic" realm. This virus is doing what all viruses do 100 percent of the time in nature already. The complexity is in how humans deal with the virus, not the actual biology of it.

  20. They are saying that this flu is an actual mutation of pig, bird and human viruses combined…now if this is true then how is it possible for both a pig and birds virus to mutate and combine when they themselves are of 2 different species and also 2 completely different strands of flu viruses?
    If it was able to mutate enough that we were able to contract it from 2 different animals at once, what does that say about the rest of the species of the planet?

    • The best answer to your question would really be to explain exactly what a virus is. Viruses are packets of genetic material wrapped up in some kind of coating. Just because the virus infects an organism, it doesn’t mean that it IS that organism. A pig influenza virus is…a virus. A human influenza virus is…a virus. Viruses of the same kind (or similar kind) can share their genetic material (in this case it’s Double Stranded DNA) and mix and match. The virus isn’t chained to one organism or another, it simply has different kinds of external proteins that can or cannot be recognized by the host immune systems. Also, if they mutate TOO much they will not be able to infect certain hosts.

      Honestly, don’t let yourself drift into the “this seems like magic” realm. This virus is doing what all viruses do 100 percent of the time in nature already. The complexity is in how humans deal with the virus, not the actual biology of it.

  21. It's not a matter of me slipping into some "magical realm"…it's an honest concern that i am worried about and since I don't exactly know the the whole science of it leads to the whole reason why i asked.

    I appreciate the info, thnx.

  22. It’s not a matter of me slipping into some “magical realm”…it’s an honest concern that i am worried about and since I don’t exactly know the the whole science of it leads to the whole reason why i asked.

    I appreciate the info, thnx.

  23. After the virus is deposited on an environmental surface (like from a sneeze), how long does the virus live and remain viable for transmission. Does it vary indoors to outdoors?

    • Uhg…looks around the internets…

      Well some viruses are very bad at living outside of their host. HIV for instance has no lifespan outside the human body.

      After some browsing (and some info from the Mayo Clinic, care of Yan) it looks like the flu is very hardy and can live on fomites (inanimate surfaces) for many hours. Even so, I believe direct transmission between individuals is a far more common cause of transmission.

      I would think this would vary a lot on what kind of surface it's on, temperature (colder would probably extend things), humidity, and maybe sun exposure.

  24. After the virus is deposited on an environmental surface (like from a sneeze), how long does the virus live and remain viable for transmission. Does it vary indoors to outdoors?

    • Uhg…looks around the internets…

      Well some viruses are very bad at living outside of their host. HIV for instance has no lifespan outside the human body.

      After some browsing (and some info from the Mayo Clinic, care of Yan) it looks like the flu is very hardy and can live on fomites (inanimate surfaces) for many hours. Even so, I believe direct transmission between individuals is a far more common cause of transmission.

      I would think this would vary a lot on what kind of surface it’s on, temperature (colder would probably extend things), humidity, and maybe sun exposure.

  25. People say the swine flu can mutate in the pigs again and then come out and be much more deadly. What causes it to be more deadly if it mutates again? What/how does it mutate (I'm guessing it changes the geometrical makeup of the virus but how does that happen? if that's correct?.

    Also, you said "if they mutate TOO much they will not be able to infect certain hosts.". What exactly does this mean? The more in-depth you go the better.

    I really appreciate your time answering these questions, thanks.

    • Well your question really deserves that I go into some hardcore molecular genetics, but I'll try to stay a little simpler for the moment.

      Mutations only happen to one kind of biological material: genetic material. Either RNA or DNA in viruses. Specifically the nucleic acids in the viral genomes.

      The genome determines what the virus is going to look like. The overall "shape" of the virus never changes because it is "highly conserved." The sphere shape is the most efficient design so it stays that way. What actually mutates are the little proteins on the ends of the peplomeres (spines) outside the virus. They stick only to certain cells (human, pig, avian, etc). If they lose the ability to stick to a particular species of animal cell, they cannot cause infection. Hence "mutating too far."

      Also, the active parts of the virus, the parts that cause disease, usually by interfering with the cell's processes or killing the cells, can undergo mutation (really the genes for those parts mutate and then create the new components). This can cause them to become more or less virulent.

      Keep genetic dogma in mind: DNA/RNA genome (genes) –goes to–> RNA –goes to–> protein (the structure and function of the virus or organism).

  26. People say the swine flu can mutate in the pigs again and then come out and be much more deadly. What causes it to be more deadly if it mutates again? What/how does it mutate (I’m guessing it changes the geometrical makeup of the virus but how does that happen? if that’s correct?.

    Also, you said “if they mutate TOO much they will not be able to infect certain hosts.”. What exactly does this mean? The more in-depth you go the better.

    I really appreciate your time answering these questions, thanks.

    • Well your question really deserves that I go into some hardcore molecular genetics, but I’ll try to stay a little simpler for the moment.

      Mutations only happen to one kind of biological material: genetic material. Either RNA or DNA in viruses. Specifically the nucleic acids in the viral genomes.

      The genome determines what the virus is going to look like. The overall “shape” of the virus never changes because it is “highly conserved.” The sphere shape is the most efficient design so it stays that way. What actually mutates are the little proteins on the ends of the peplomeres (spines) outside the virus. They stick only to certain cells (human, pig, avian, etc). If they lose the ability to stick to a particular species of animal cell, they cannot cause infection. Hence “mutating too far.”

      Also, the active parts of the virus, the parts that cause disease, usually by interfering with the cell’s processes or killing the cells, can undergo mutation (really the genes for those parts mutate and then create the new components). This can cause them to become more or less virulent.

      Keep genetic dogma in mind: DNA/RNA genome (genes) –goes to–> RNA –goes to–> protein (the structure and function of the virus or organism).

  27. Most of the deaths from the Spanish flu were from secondary infection such as strep which lead to pneumonia. The fact that in a world of 6 billion there are some few hundred cases outside of one country is scare mongering. Over 20,000 people die in the US from Flu each year. The only death so far has been a very young child who came here from Mexico.

    Washing hands and keeping hands away from the face and moist areas is just good common sense.

    Note of caution on Purel and other such sanitizers, they are extremely flammable and since the combustion source is Alcohol the flame can be invisible in daylight. Be careful using it around any flame source.

  28. Most of the deaths from the Spanish flu were from secondary infection such as strep which lead to pneumonia. The fact that in a world of 6 billion there are some few hundred cases outside of one country is scare mongering. Over 20,000 people die in the US from Flu each year. The only death so far has been a very young child who came here from Mexico.
    Washing hands and keeping hands away from the face and moist areas is just good common sense.
    Note of caution on Purel and other such sanitizers, they are extremely flammable and since the combustion source is Alcohol the flame can be invisible in daylight. Be careful using it around any flame source.

  29. Ok, I just got a little more info on Tamiflu today so I figured I'd share it. Tamiflu is fairly effective but is really an "early onset" drug. If you don't receive it in a fairly small window of time, it is not very effective. Heard this from an ER nurse this afternoon.

  30. Ok, I just got a little more info on Tamiflu today so I figured I’d share it. Tamiflu is fairly effective but is really an “early onset” drug. If you don’t receive it in a fairly small window of time, it is not very effective. Heard this from an ER nurse this afternoon.

  31. Seriously, with 40,000 a year dying in car accidents, thousands dying from the common flu, millions from cancer we are supposed to worry about 30 people out of 300 million who got a flu that has not killed anyone.

    I am so tired of the Media, Government trying to scar us about this and that…. LIVE FOR TODAY…. Don't drink the kool aide and remember they will always try to keep us scared.

    DON'T BE A SHEEP, THINK FOR YOURSELF!

    • Really? Come on dude, I know they're out to get you, but soapboxing at the bottom of a week old article isn't going to get you very far.

      And the number is up to several hundred now…for those who were confused by this guy's post.

  32. Seriously, with 40,000 a year dying in car accidents, thousands dying from the common flu, millions from cancer we are supposed to worry about 30 people out of 300 million who got a flu that has not killed anyone.

    I am so tired of the Media, Government trying to scar us about this and that…. LIVE FOR TODAY…. Don’t drink the kool aide and remember they will always try to keep us scared.

    DON’T BE A SHEEP, THINK FOR YOURSELF!

    • Really? Come on dude, I know they’re out to get you, but soapboxing at the bottom of a week old article isn’t going to get you very far.

      And the number is up to several hundred now…for those who were confused by this guy’s post.

  33. Yah, im in Arizona right now near the Mexican border, not to exciting thinking about all the illegals comming up here to and bringing the disease even faster into the US. I am happy though that im headed back to Alaska in a week, far away from the amount of people here, though im not exactly thrilled to ride on a plane with potential swine flu infected passengers for hours.

  34. Yah, im in Arizona right now near the Mexican border, not to exciting thinking about all the illegals comming up here to and bringing the disease even faster into the US. I am happy though that im headed back to Alaska in a week, far away from the amount of people here, though im not exactly thrilled to ride on a plane with potential swine flu infected passengers for hours.

  35. thank you for your article, i've had to do this school research and none had at least a basic biological description of the influenza. i've found this very helpful and hope that there are most like these!!!!

  36. thank you for your article, i’ve had to do this school research and none had at least a basic biological description of the influenza. i’ve found this very helpful and hope that there are most like these!!!!