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Call this Flu What it is: H1N1

Issue October 2009

According to a recent statement by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack, it’s important to know that the H1N1 virus is not “swine flu.”  Mislabeling of this novel virus (H1N1) has resulted in harm to consumers across the globe and to levels of pork consumption as well.  Secretary Vilsack also points out that “it is simply not fair or correct to associate the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza with hogs, an animal that does not play a role in the ongoing transmission of the pandemic strain.” 

More information about H1N1 is available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture at:  http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/?navid=USDA_H1N1

What is H1N1?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 2009 H1N1 virus is a new influenza virus causing illness in people.  Spread of the H1N1 virus is thought to occur in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by infected people. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something – such as a surface or object – with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.  It is extremely important during this, and every season, to practice good personal hygiene, which can help reduce the spread of H1N1. 

Good personal hygiene includes washing hands often, and the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.  According to the 2009 IFIC Foundation Food & Health Survey, there was a significant decline in the number of consumers who wash their hands regularly when handling food, as compared to 2008. 

Other practical steps from the CDC to help protect you from H1N1 include:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

Additional information about H1N1 and prevention measures can be found at the www.cdc.gov.

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