To find out what to do if you think you have symptoms, please visit Coronavirus symptom checker. Or visit our encyclopaedia page, which has general information and includes a BSL video.

NOTE: For up to date information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) visit the UK Department of Health and Social Care.

Overview

"Swine flu" was the popular name for flu caused by a relatively new type of flu virus responsible for a global flu outbreak (or pandemic) in 2009-10. It's now just a normal type of seasonal flu and is included in the annual flu vaccine.

The scientific name for the swine flu virus is A/H1N1pdm09 – sometimes shortened to "H1N1".

"Swine flu" pandemic 2009-10

The virus was first identified in Mexico in April 2009. It became known as swine flu because it's similar to flu viruses that affect pigs.

It spread rapidly from country to country because it was a new type of flu virus that few young people were immune to.

Overall, the outbreak was not as serious as originally predicted, largely because many older people were already immune to it. Most cases in the UK were relatively mild, although there were some serious cases.

The relatively small number of cases resulting in serious illness and death were mostly in younger adults and children – particularly those with underlying health problems – and pregnant women.

On August 10 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the pandemic officially over.

"Swine flu" now

The A/H1N1pdm09 virus is now one of the seasonal flu viruses that circulate each winter. If you've had flu in the last few years, there's a chance it was caused by this virus.

As many people now have some level of immunity to the A/H1N1pdm09 virus, it's much less of a concern than in 2009-10.

The symptoms are the same as other types of common flu. They're usually mild and pass within 1 to 2 weeks. But as with all types of flu, some people are at higher risk of serious illness, particularly those with underlying health problems.

The regular flu vaccine will normally protect people at a higher risk of becoming severely ill. A new children's vaccine programme is also being introduced, which aims to protect children and reduce their ability to infect others.

Read more about:

Symptoms of flu

Treatment for flu

Preventing flu

Annual flu jab

Flu vaccine for children

^^ Back to top


The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website nhs.uk
Last Updated: 17/09/2019 08:34:52