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Disposable Face Masks Prevent Swine Flu Transmission

Scientists and medical professionals have found a variation of the swine flu strain labeled as H3N2 and have been tracking cases that have occurred in the US since July 2011. This mutated variation of the H1N1 strain, while similar, is not necessarily transmitted through contact with pigs and is suggested to be airborne. Disposable face masks may prevent swine flu transmission in this adapted form.

Like other common influenza strains, H3N2 has appeared to become airborne and though not spreading rapidly, disposable face masks may help prevent the transmission of this variant of the swine flu. Of 12 monitored cases, half of the affected patients did not have any contact with any form of pig. Though different from the original form of the virus, H3N2 carries the same infectious genome posing a significant public health risk. The majority of cases have affected children and it is likely that transmission has occurred in public areas where multiple contacts are common.

Recently, US contracted researchers have been recreating forms of the virus that can be contracted through human contact. Scientists are preparing for the eventuality, which appears to have developed, that the strain will mutate and become more contagious. The severity of such a widespread infection could lead to a community pandemic, though according to recent findings, currently this is not seen as a significant threat. However, if the virus has become airborne, isolation products such as disposable face masks will help to limit the transmission of this swine flu variant among humans.

It has been posited that if this H3N2 variation has indeed become transmissible between individuals, development of a successful vaccine will be unlikely. In areas that cases have been documented, there is the possibility of contracting the virus particularly in younger, socialized children. Direct contact has not been indicated as the vehicle, so use of disposable face masks in day care, community, and school settings can help to prevent swine flu transmission among children and reduce the chance of pandemic.

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