This little "bug" gave the whole world a Halloween scare!
Our Swine Flu (Influenza A virus H1N1)
Plush Stuffed Toy
This imaginative-looking stuffed, plush swine flu (Influenza A virus H1N1) toy is soft and cuddly and is 5 1/2 inches long. It is adorned with red plastic eyes and embroidered nostrils. The surface is washable: Simply sponge with a mixture of warm water and mild soap. Allow to air dry, then brush to restore fabric to its original fullness. (SAFETY PRECAUTION: Remove plastic hangtags and ribbons before giving to a child under 3 years of age.) This stuffed plush swine flu virus replica is a great collectible or makes for a gag gift. Check out our other worm, leech, and virus toys and gifts.
About the Swine Flu (Influenza A virus H1N1)
Swine flu is an influenza virus that usually affects pigs. However, just as the common, seasonal flu that affects humans is constantly mutating (as our immune systems and vaccines compromise weaker strains), swine flu is always trying to improve itself so that it can become more virulent, spread faster - and even associate with better company.
Occasionally, a pig-headed virus such as Influenza A (H1 N1) actually succeeds and begins infecting other species - like humans. Naturally, this raises philosophical questions as to whether it is still a swine flu: since it's new, it isn't widespread in the porcine population - and anyway, once it's affecting other species, well. . . .
Nevertheless, once a virus such as swine flu makes the jump to another species, the health risks in the new population are substantial. In the original host-population, some immunities generally exist against the original strain, and these immunities are often at least partially effective against new mutations. In a new host, however, there may be no natural immunity to the original strain and no partial immunity to the new strain - so the virus can spread rapidly. In addition, a virus that produces mild effects in one species may be life-threatening in another - so catastrophic health consequences can result.
Fortunately, swine flu viruses are generally fragile, and in most cases basic health precautions (such as hand-washing and avoiding close contact with those who are ill) significantly reduce the chance of infection. Nevertheless, the dangers of future mutations and infections will continue to abound until, well, pigs fly.
This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.