H1N1, or swine flu, has pandemic potential but so far it is mostly causing only mild flu symptoms

The new strain of porcine H1N1 is spreading internationally but so far it is causing mostly mild flu symptoms, according to Exclusive Analysis.

The most significant feature of this new strain is its ability to pass from human to human. This has caused the World Health organisation to raise its pandemic alert to Level 4—just a step below its official characterisation of a global pandemic.

The human to human transmissibility factor means swine flu has the potential to spread throughout the global human population in 4 to 6 weeks, the accepted definition of a pandemic.

Even though the disease is likely to spread, however, it has yet to prove that it is a characteristically deadly virus.

So far there have been no confirmed deaths as a result of swine flu outside of Mexico, where the outbreak started.

“There have been no confirmed deaths as a result of swine flu outside of Mexico.

‘This could mean that the severe form has already mutated into a less severe form, or that the Mexican deaths were a result of a lack of timely, sufficient healthcare attention,’ reported Exclusive Analysis in its incident assessment.

‘It could also mean that there are currently several H1N1 strains in Mexico and that so far, the milder strain has the highest transmissibility from human to human,’ added the firm.

Aviation, tourism, leisure and entertainment are the industries most at risk of disruption, according to Exclusive Analysis.

Laboratory testing has found the virus is susceptible to the prescription antiviral drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir, said the Centers for Disease Control.

‘If the current H1N1 strain is proven to cause increasing numbers of mortalities, the ultimate human cost would depend on the management and pharmaceutical stock of regional healthcare facilities, sufficient national antiviral supplies and vaccine production capabilities, public awareness and the widespread use of self-protection measures,’ read the incident assessment.