A new study shows that everyone infected with the swine flu virus H1N1 is taking the risk of infecting 1.5 other individuals – a full three days before symptoms like coughing and fever even begin to appear. The study appears in Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses.

Because this transmission rate is so high, and hard to detect, it’s recommended that anyone displaying early flu-like symptoms should seek a health care professional as soon as possible. Anti-viral drugs can help to slow the rate of transmission.

The H1N1 swine flu appeared in Mexico in early March. By March 15 the virus had spread to Mexico City and from there, to almost every corner of the globe. The WHO (World Health Organization) says that more than 209,000 cases of the virus have occurred around the world, causing 2,185 deaths. These numbers, however, most likely underestimate the severity of the outbreak.

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