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Novel H1N1 flu, popularly known as swine flu, is a respiratory infection caused by an influenza virus first recognized in spring 2009. The new virus, which is officially called swine influenza A (H1N1), contains genetic material from human, swine and avian flu viruses.

Technically, the term “swine flu” refers to influenza in pigs. Occasionally, pigs transmit influenza viruses to people, mainly hog farm workers and veterinarians. Less often, someone infected occupationally passes the infection to others. You can’t catch swine flu from eating pork.

Unlike typical swine flu, H1N1 flu spreads quickly and easily. In June 2009, when the infection’s spread had been verified worldwide, the World Health Organization declared H1N1 flu a global pandemic.

An H1N1 vaccine has been developed for the 2009-10 flu season.