Updated 30 April 2009 13:27 GMT – Note that this has been updated to reflect Phase 5 Pandemic Alert
What is swine flu?
Swine influenza, or “swine flu”, is a contagious acute respiratory disease of pigs, caused by one of several swine influenza A viruses. People do not normally get swine flu, but cases of human infection with swine influenza A (H1N1) viruses have been reported and confirmed internationally.
Is this swine flu virus contagious?
The swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it is not known how easily the virus spreads between people.
This virus is thought to be spreading in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
Swine influenza viruses are not spread by food.
How can transmission of the flu be avoided?