Swine flu no longer exceptional, Turkish professor claims

Swine flu no longer exceptional, Turkish professor claims

İZMİR – Anadolu Agency
Swine flu no longer exceptional, Turkish professor claims

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No longer as exceptional as it used to be, the H1N1 virus, colloquially known as the swine flu, has become a common form of seasonal influenza, a professor at Ege University’s Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases faculty has claimed. 

According to Professor Çağrı Büke, most flu cases are examples of seasonal influenza, which is common between the months of October and March, and swine flu makes up two thirds of these cases. 

“Around 10 to 15 percent of the public are likely to be infected with influenza between these months. Some 60 to 70 percent of all these cases will suffer from swine flu,” Büke has told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency, explaining that the H1N1 virus is no longer as exceptional as it once was. “The H1N1 was a brand new virus in 2009. However, since then, it has evolved into a cause of seasonal flu alongside influenza A [H3N2] and influenza B,” he stated. 

While there are groups who are more at risk, Büke said others will only experience the illness as a week-long upper respiratory tract infection.

The professor outlined these “risky groups” as pregnant, elderly or obese persons along with those with chronic heart, kidney or lung diseases, diabetes and neuro or cancer patients. 

“Some of the patients who died in Adana and Niğde were at risk,” Büke stated, referring to five swine flu patients who died in the first week of 2016. 

Turkey’s Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu likewise explained on Jan. 5 that seven of the eight patients who died of swine flu were part of these risky groups of people with weakened immunities. 

The eight patients who have died so far were from Turkey’s Çankırı, Van, Adana and Niğde provinces. Five of the patients had chronic illnesses while one was aged over 65 and another was pregnant.

Büke told reporters that swine flu is a mix of avian, human and swine influenza viruses and one must stay away from those infected with the virus and ensure personal hygiene in order to avoid being infected. 

The professor also underlined that swine flu patients experience distinctive symptoms like diarrhea and stomachaches, which are not common in other types of influenza. 

“One fourth of all people infected with this flu have such complaints,” he said. “If you experience diarrhea and stomachache in addition to seasonal flu symptoms like fever, muscle and joint pain, it is advisable to see a doctor,” Büke added. 

Turkey has been witnessing an increase in the number of swine flu cases as a total of 45 patients checked in to Adana’s Numune Training and Research Hospital in the southern province with symptoms including a high fever over the past week. 

After examinations, six patients were hospitalized over suspicions of the H1N1 virus. 

Three of these patients, two Syrians and one four-month-pregnant Turkish woman, died while receiving treatment. 

Meanwhile, a woman with a high fever and another being treated for swine flu died in the first days of January in the central Anatolian Niğde province. 

In the latest such instance, two people suspected of suffering from swine flu have been quarantined in the Kadirli district of the southern province of Osmaniye.

The patients are members of the same family and were taken to the Kadirli State Hospital with high fevers. It remains unclear whether the two are actually infected, but the hospital’s emergency room was evacuated and all patients and health personnel were given masks as a precaution.