It's a respiratory disease caused by influenza type A virus which infects pigs. As is with other viruses, there are many different strains due to rapid mutation. The rumble today is because the virus previously did not make the leap from pig to human: the new strain does.
A New Strain...
...with the same genetic material available in viruses that infect birds, humans & pigs. It seems that the new strain is the product of earlier strains mixing & swapping genetic information from different species: pigs provide the medium for such a mix to occur.
The swine flu virus is a new, more dangerous strain
Similar to the human flu: it begins with a sore throat, fatigue & cough...then a fever will set in. If the fever lasts for more than 10 days, it's better to have a check up.
...no more pork? Not necessarily...As long as the inner temperature is above 70 degree Celsius, the virus will not survive. However people have died in Mexico, so this is no laughing matter. A few tips to reduce the risks:
Take preventive measures
1. Ensure good basic hygiene: do not rub your eyes with your hands, wash your face & hands etc
2. If in close contact with someone with flu-like symptoms, wear a mask if possible.
3. Good infection control: cover your nose/mouth when sneezing/coughing, use a tissue when possible & discard it appropriately.
For more information please head on to the WHO section on swine flu.
Be safe & keep your family & friends safe!