Sharp spike seen in swine flu cases: CDC

August 10, 2012 By Amanda Gardner, HealthDay Reporter
Sharp spike seen in swine flu cases: CDC
Number of reported illnesses has jumped 5-fold this week.

(HealthDay) -- U.S. health authorities on Thursday reported a large jump in the number of H3N2 "swine" flu cases in humans.

Last week, only 29 cases had been reported since July of 2011, when the virus first emerged. Sixteen of the cases appeared in the past month.

But this week, the tally soared to 146 cases, one each in Hawaii, Utah and Illinois, 113 in Indiana and 30 reported from Ohio.

This represents "clearly a significant increase," Dr. Joseph Bresee, of the U.S. 's Influenza Division, said during an afternoon news conference.

Authorities have seen no human-to-human transmissions yet this year -- all people infected had had some contact with swine, usually at agricultural fairs -- but they are nevertheless concerned about the virus because it contains an element seen in the 2009 swine , H1N1, which may make it more likely for the virus to spread from person to person.

Also, the latest cases contain a variant gene that may confer increased transmissibility to and among humans, compared to other variant .

Some of the initial 12 cases from 2011 did not have any obvious swine exposure, Bresee added.

Numbers are likely to jump again tomorrow, when the CDC posts updated numbers on its website, Bresee noted.

In fact, a representative from Medicine said during the news conference's question-and-answer period that Indiana had just this morning updated their figures to 120 cases of , bringing the total to 153.

Greater awareness of and testing for the virus along with the proliferation of agricultural fairs around the country during the summer are likely also contributing to the increase, Bresee said.

Bresee stressed that this is "not a pandemic situation."

The severity of the illness resembles that of the seasonal flu, with most cases being mild and resolving on their own. More than 90 percent of cases have occurred in children who not only have extensive exposure to swine they may have raised for exhibit but who also have less immunity to the virus.

Two people of unknown age were hospitalized but are now recovering at home, Bresee said.

To prevent contracting this flu, the CDC advises people to limit their contact with swine and avoid contact with sick swine. People who have contact with these animals should take precautions such as washing their hands, not eating or drinking in areas with swine and controlling their cough.

The virus is responsive to currently available prescription antivirals and an H3N2 candidate vaccine has been prepared and clinical trials are being planned for this year.

Explore further: Croatia registers first swine flu death this season

More information: For more on H3N2 flu, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Related Stories

Croatia registers first swine flu death this season

December 28, 2010

Croatia recorded its first death linked to swine flu this season as a 60-year-old man infected with H1N1 virus died at a Zagreb hospital, the national public health institute said on Tuesday.

CDC preparing vaccine for new swine flu

August 4, 2012

(HealthDay) -- Only 29 human cases of a new strain of "swine" flu have been identified in two years, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is making sure it's prepared should the H3N2 strain become more ...

Recommended for you

Team discovers how Zika virus causes fetal brain damage

August 24, 2016

Infection by the Zika virus diverts a key protein necessary for neural cell division in the developing human fetus, thereby causing the birth defect microcephaly, a team of Yale scientists reported Aug. 24 in the journal ...

Zika infection may affect adult brain cells

August 18, 2016

Concerns over the Zika virus have focused on pregnant women due to mounting evidence that it causes brain abnormalities in developing fetuses. However, new research in mice from scientists at The Rockefeller University and ...

Immune breakthrough: Unscratching poison ivy's rash

August 23, 2016

We all know that a brush with poison ivy leaves us with an itchy painful rash. Now, Monash University and Harvard researchers have discovered the molecular cause of this irritation. The finding brings us a step closer to ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.