The Minister of State for Labour and Employment (Independent Charge), Shri Bandaru Dattatreya meeting the Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda, to find solutions for the outburst of swine flu in Telangana, in New Delhi on January 23, 2015.(PIB Photo)

Go Veg to Beat Swine Flu: Experts Advise

A woman receives a vaccine injection against H1N1 virus free of charge in Mexico City. (IANS)

A woman receives a vaccine injection against H1N1 virus free of charge in Mexico City. (IANS)

One tip to avoid swine flu is to avoid meat, especially pork and also avoid buying meat from the shop which combines all meat products, including eggs, suggest experts.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has pointed out that pork and poultry, improperly handled with a knife that would have come in contact with swine flu virus and re-sued to cut other meat products has the potential to spread the virus.

India has been witnessing one of its worst outbreaks of swine flu in the country with more than 400 deaths reported since Jan 1 this year and irrespective of the region, north to south, it is fast spreading keeping the state governments on their toes to keep tablets, especially Tamiflu handy for use in all hospitals. In 2009, swine flu epidemic al over the world killed 200,000 people.

The worst plague in human history was triggered in 1918 by an H1N1 avian flu virus that broke the barrier and spread across the species from birds to humans, killing around 50 million people. The toll was more than the World War toll then. Later, the virus passed on to pigs, where it has spread faster causing the respiratory disease in and around North American pig farms.

In the next phase, swine flu jumped to humans from the live pigs in the form of a ‘reassortant’ or a mix of genes from swine, bird, and human flu viruses. It is still referred to as ‘swine flu’ because laboratory testing corraborated the virus genes with the influenza viruses found in pigs (swine) in North America. However, the 2009 H1N1 was very different from the one that hit the pigs in North America. It has two genes from flu viruses found in pigs in Europe and Asia and bird (avian) genes and human genes and often scientists refer to it as a ‘quadruple reassortant’ virus.”

The common disease in pigs has become a human disease now. Dr Michael Greger attributes the fast spreading disease to crowded farm conditions, close proximity between farms and the transport of live animals.

According to the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), the global meat production has quadrupled from 78 million tonnes in 1963 to 308 million tonnes per year now. With the increasing populations in China and India adapting to the Western food habits, the IAASTD predicts that this trend will increase further in future. China keeps farm pigs in crowded conditions, and India is also moving in the direction of an intensive farming system for chicken and other animals.

Now that “the remaining two gene segments of the H1N1 swine flu virus now spreading in human populations around the world appear to come from a swine flu viral lineage circulating in Eurasia, where similar conditions may be to blame,” says gregor.

Teh pathetic conditions in farms are rife with disease, which can spread quickly. While animals in farms are given heavy dose of antibiotics, the resistant superbugs and aggressive mutations of pathogens are resulting in the negative and even vaccines are proving ineffective, he noted.


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