The H1N1 virus, formerly known as swine flu, is still spreading in South Carolina. However, as many panic over the virus, Amy Roach with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says the threat is not as severe as some may think.
“It’s contagious as any flu virus, and flu viruses are generally very contagious. It’s spread from respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing people that are infectious. And, close contact within six feet being in someone’s face, and then breathing in germs as they cough or sneeze,” says Roach.
Although the virus doesn’t seem as severe, DHEC reports in late August, a 12-year-old Midlands child died of the virus, but that child did have underlying medical issues. This past week, more than a dozen students at the College of Charleston also tested positive to the H1N1. Roach says the severity of the virus hasn’t changed much since the outbreak in April.
“All flu viruses are susceptible to change, and they can change very little or they can change a lot. Right now, the severity of illness associated to the virus is similar to that of what we saw a few months ago, and it’s similar to that of regular seasonal flu,” says Roach
Roach says hand sanitizers and wipes easily kill the germs of the H1N1 virus, but if someone has the “normal” flu symptoms, they should stay home from school or work.