Influenza viruses are a group of RNA viruses. They belong to the viral family Orthomyxoviridae. This group is divided into Influenza A, B and C. Influenza C generally causes only mild respiratory illness. A and B strains cause seasonal viral flu and the main strains are included in the yearly flu shots.
Influenza A is divided into subtypes based on the expression patterns of two viral antigens, H and N. H stands for Hemagglutinin and this is the viral antigen that causes the virus to attach itself. There are 16 H variants. On the other hand the N stands for Neuraminidase which is the viral antigen that causes the virus to be released. There are 9 of the N variants. H1N1 refers to a subtype of Influenza A. THE CURRENT PANDEMIC started in early April 2009 in Mexico as a disease that mostly affected the young and caused symptoms of pneumonia.
By the time the WHO ( World Health Organization) raised the pandemic level to 5 on April 29 there were 2 fatalities in the U.S. On May 20, 2009 the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), published the 20 cases and 1 fatality and drew attention to the severity of shortness of breath in pregnant cases. Also, fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose, headaches, aches, pains,nausea, vomiting, diarrhea were seen. By May 20, 2009 there were 10.000 cases of H1N1 globally. On June 6, 2009 the WHO announced a level 6 pandemic which is the highest level in 41 years. By then there were about 94.000 cases in over 100 countries.
Pregnant women are more susceptible to more severe symptoms, higher complication and mortality from H1N1. It is also more dangerous to the fetus. TESTING is done by a rapid influenza antigen test. To confirm the diagnosis, a RT-PCR ( Reverse Transcription- Polymerase Chain Reaction) test is done. TREATMENT is done with antivirals and ISOLATION face masks are used. PREVENTION is also with antivirals. Vaccination has recently become available.