A new strain of swine flu has been causing the CDC some concern this week when 12 people in just one week were confirmed to have contracted H3N2 (also known as H3N2v) in the US.
This brings the total to 29 known cases since the first case was detected in July 2011. In the last three weeks alone there has been 16 new cases although the CDC claims that many more are likely to have gone unreported.
The main cause for concern is the fact that H3N2v has all the right qualities needed to be able to jump from human to human. At a news conference that was called to announce the new cases, Joseph Bresee, MD, of the CDC’s Influenza Division said ”All 29 cases have had H3N2v with the M gene of pandemic H1N1. This may confer increased transmissibility to and among humans.”
At the moment those infected have all happened after direct contact with pigs. Although Bresee did go on to say “We have detected cases of this virus with increasing frequency,” and that “We expect further cases of human infection, either with contact with swine or from limited human-to-human spread. We expect some of the cases will be severe.”
H3N2v Swine Flu Symptoms
Symptoms are showing to be no more serious at the moment than seasonal flu (seasonal flu that kills hundreds of thousands of people each year) with the main ones being headaches, sore throat, cough, fever and muscle aches.
The CDC are looking into this new strain and want to find out more about it. Anyone who gets sick after being near pigs are urged to see their GP and they are encouraging GP’s to collect samples.
“The key point is this is still a swine virus — maybe a little different, but still not a human virus,” Bresee said. “This virus is different because it acquired the M gene from pandemic virus, and that may confer an advantage to spreading among humans. But whether we’re seeing more cases because of this, or because it’s the season for state fairs and we’re looking more closely, we don’t know.”
Australia Reports Fatal Flu Outbreak – 3 Dead
CDC reports no deaths from H3N2v on August 3rd 2012 yet Australia is reporting three dead with 56 infected cases of suspected H3N2v just one day later.
The fatal outbreak of flu is spreading through two Hunters Disability centres and already three deaths have been reported at Newcastle’s Stockton Centre and the Kanangra Centre at Morisset over the past week.
450 residents are being monitored daily by The Health Network and there is strict infection controls in place.