What is it? It is a virus that mutated from pigs and transmitted to some humans

Which places have been affected? Mexico City, California, Texas, Philippines, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Egypt, Israel, Kuwait, Spain, France, Thailand, Cuba, Arizona, India, Taiwan.

Is there a cure? The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website states that there is no vaccine to specifically protect humans from swine flu, only to protect pigs. Although GlaxoSmithKline Plc's flu treatment Relenza and Roche Holding AG's Tamiflu appear effective against the strains of the virus the CDC has tested.

What are authorities doing to contain the virus? The World Health Organization went on high alert, dispatching top experts to the United States and Mexico. The CDC has also set up emergency operation centres.

Signs and symptoms

Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
Sudden dizziness
Severe or persistent vomiting
Fever with a rash (among children)
Bluish skin color (among children)

Easy ways to protect against infection

Little can be done to prevent an outbreak of flu from spreading, health experts caution, but they say common sense measures can help individuals protect themselves. Practice the following:

- Wash your hands frequently

- Cover your cough or your sneeze

- Use alcohol-based gel or foam hand sanitizers

- If you have flu-like symptoms, stay away from work or public transportation

- Social distancing. Stay away from people who might be infected

Contact numbers

USA and Canada: The UAE embassy: 001-202-651-1309 The military attaché: 001-202-755-6005 http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/key_facts.htm

Australia and New Zealand: Toll free number: 1800089190 Main number: 0061262868333) Fax number: 0061262868444 & 0061262868162
Other numbers: Victoria: Dr Ali Bu Salem: 0412 665 775

Queensland: Ahmad Abdul Rauof: 0423 067 788

New South Wales: Mustafa Sa'ad: 0466 494 195

Australian government hotline: 180 2007 For information and guidance: 0081 022 222