After suffering from fever and muscular pain for a few days, a 63-year-old man went to see a doctor. The diagnosis was flu.
The man said, however, that he is worried that he might have the deadly swine flu virus since his symptoms began appearing shortly after he ate pork along with his family last week.
Many Koreans generally catch colds when the temperature widely fluctuates due to change in season. Swine flu, which has spread from Mexico, has made matters worse, however.
After the outbreak of swine flu, many people are having trouble distinguishing cold, flu and swine flu. Flu and swine flu have the same route of infection: respiratory organs. Both of them have similar symptoms of sinus congestion, snuffles, sore throat, coughing and fever.
The biggest factor differentiating flu from swine flu is a fever exceeding 38 degrees Celsius. Flu is accompanied by high fever. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, said a person who has more than two symptoms among sinus congestion, snuffles, sore throat, coughing and fever could have swine flu.
Even those with more than two symptoms can be suspected of having swine flu if they visited around April 17 the United States or Mexico, where swine flu firstly appeared, or met those who had visited one of the two nations around that time.
Why is swine flu virus more dreaded than the flu virus when the two are similar? Due to frequent outbreaks of the flu virus, herd immunity exists.
Since those who have been exposed to the flu virus are immune, they suffer no severe symptoms even when infected with flu. Herd immunity describes a type of immunity that appears when vaccination reduces the population of a virus and also lowers the likelihood that a susceptible person comes into contact with an infected individual.
Lee Jae-gap, a professor of infectious disease at Kangnam Sacred Heart Hospital in Seoul, said, Mortality could increase if people are infected with swine flu since they are not immune to a virus that has never spread among people.