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Page last updated at 14:06 GMT, Monday, 27 April 2009 15:06 UK
Swine flu: What you need to know

By Chris Smith
Newsbeat reporter

Pigs in South Korea
Pigs are being sprayed with disinfectant in South Korea

What's swine flu and how do you know if you've got it?

As you'd get from the name, this is a disease that normally affects pigs. Generally, humans don't catch it. But flu viruses constantly change - and it seems this one's mutated so it can now pass from person to person.

The symptoms are like any other flu - a cough and a sore throat. You ache and get chills, feel lousy and get a temperature. It's been confirmed in Mexico, the USA and now in Spain. Most cases reported round the world have been mild so far, though.

So how come we're hearing about people dying from this then?

Those people who died were in Mexico, and most of them got pneumonia after being ill with this swine flu. People didn't get so ill with the cases in New York - and experts will be looking into that to find out why.

If people in this country do start coming down with it, have we got medicines to help them?

We do. There are anti-flu medicines and they should help fight off the swine flu.

Can you get it from pork?

As long as you cook it you won't catch swine flu from your Sunday lunch - heat kills the virus.

Not so long ago we thought we were all going to die of bird flu - are things worse this time?

You're right, a lot of experts got very scared about bird flu. There was a risk it could have developed into a much more dangerous form. Swine flu has the same potential.

So really it's too early to tell what's going to happen. Yes - like bird flu there's a risk this could spread. But at the moment it hasn't - they're just saying there's a risk it could.

There's no need to panic just yet - but it's certainly one to keep an eye on.



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