Swine Flu – Extraordinary Breakdown of Public Health


Amit Sengupta
27 Feb 2015
The recent spate of infections and deaths, caused by the H1N1 strain of the influenza virus across many states in India has once again brought into focus India’s ailing health care system. It is unfortunate that discussions on the country’s non-functioning public health system surface only in periods when the health system is faced with a challenge.
What is Swine Flu?
Influenza caused by the H1N1 virus is also popularly called ‘swne flu’. A popular misconception is that ‘swine flu’ is spread by pigs – in fact humans and not pigs infect other humans with swine flu. Controlling the population of pigs has absolutely no effect on the spread of the disease. The term, ‘swine flu’ dates back to 2009 when the virus affected almost 20% of the global population. Tests on the genetic material of the H1N1 virus showed that it contained genetic material from viruses that cause influenza like symptoms in pigs. It has been speculated that the virus incubated and developed because of peculiar conditions that prevail in the industrial mode of animal husbandry, practiced in many countries across the world. It has now been established that the virus, in all probability, first infected human hosts in Mexico and crossed over to the United States. While the sub-type H1N1 is the dominant form of the swine flu virus, other subtypes H1N2, H1N3, H3N1, H3N2 and H2N3 are also known to cause swine flu. Read complete article