The term “swine flu” can be a little misleading. In reality swine flu is a term coined to describe the 2009 H1N1 outbreak of influenza. The swine flu pandemic was the second H1N1 pandemic recorded with the first being the 1918 “Spanish Flu” which claimed between 20 and 100 million lives.
H1N1 is easily treated in modern hospitals and the case fatality rate is low compared to Ebola. Vaccination is possible with sufficient antibody production reached in approximate ten days. Considering the short generation time for the virus and airborne transmission it would pose a significant risk without a vaccine or modern medicine as it did in 1918. H1N1 strains of flu are notable for their lack of discrimination; the strain infects all age groups unlike other types of flu which have a greater effect on children and the elderly.
|Trait||Ebola Virus||Swine Flu|
|R 0||2.2 Mean||~1.16-1.75|
|Generation Time||5 (CDC), 11 (WHO)||2.4-3.1 days|
|Mortality Rate||25-90% / ~70% 2014 Outbreak||0.03% (2009)|
|Primary Transmission||Bodily Fluids (Almost All)||Airborne|
|Primary Hosts||Humans, Primates, Bats||Swine, Humans|
|Type||RNA Virus||RNA Virus|
|Deaths per Annum||Very Low Prior to 2014||Relatively Low, 2009 outbreak ~15000|
|Largest known Outbreak||2013/14 West Africa||1918 “Spanish Flu” and 2009 “Swine flu”|
|First Isolated||1976||Novel “Swine Flu” 2009|
|Last Pandemic||Never Recorded||2009-2010|
|Possible Age||Thousands of Years||Thousands of Years|
The above table shows Swine Flu vs Ebola on a basic level. Symptomatic comparisons are not provided since there is no current outbreak of H1N1. However there is a page for the comparison of the symptoms between Ebola and Influenza.
The 2009 outbreak of “Swine flu” saw at least 600000 confirmed cases globally. The pandemic was declared as over in 2010 by the World Health Organization. The virus has a lower R0 than Ebola but a significantly faster generation time.
The 2009 pandemic attracted controversial opinions from critics around the world claiming that the media and global health organizations had inflated the perceived risk in order to encourage vaccination.