CDC: Number of H3N2v confirmed cases hits more than 220

The number of confirmed H3N2v infections, commonly known as swine flu, has jumped to more than 220 since July, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report released last week.

The confirmed cases still are believed to be associated with exposure to sick pigs, many through fair exhibitions. Symptoms are similar to the seasonal flu and the virus is not believed to be spreading from person to person.

New cases, including 71 confirmed last Friday, have cropped up in Michigan and Wisconsin. Indiana has the most confirmed cases (138), followed by Ohio (72).

“We expect the number of H3N2v cases to rise since this virus has been found in pigs in a number of U.S. states per the USDA and there is so much interaction between people and pigs in fair settings at this time of year,” Dr. Joseph Bresee, chief of the epidemiology and prevention branch in the CDC’s influenza division, said in a statement. “Rather than focusing on case counts, it’s important to look at the kind of spread that’s taking place and the severity of illness that’s occurring. The good news is that the main risk factor for H3N2v virus infection continues to be exposure to pigs. This H3N2v virus is not spreading readily from person-to-person and illness so far has been similar to seasonal flu.” 

The H3N2v virus contains genes from swine, human and avian viruses, including the M gene from H1N1 flu, which caused a global health pandemic in 2009. H3N2 has been found in pigs since 2010 and humans since 2011, according to the CDC.

The M gene allows the H3N2v virus to move more easily between humans, causing the careful monitoring of the progression of the virus by public health officials.

The CDC recommends immunocompromised people avoid swine barns at the fair. The recommendation covers kids younger than five years old and people 65 years and older, pregnant women and people with long-term health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Symptoms are typically mild, and include fever, sore throat, cough, body aches and fatigue.

People cannot get H3N2v by eating properly cooked pork products, according to the CDC.

Proper cleaning and disinfection protocols are critical in preventing the spread of disease from animal to animal. Ensure all dirt, manure and debris is cleaned from pens, equipment and other areas where the animal was kept. Following cleaning, the area should be disinfected, a process that kills pathogenic microorganisms.

For more Neogen blog posts about H3N2v, click here.

For a list of Neogen’s cleaning and disinfecting products, click here.

For more biosecurity tips, check out A Champion’s Guide to Youth Swine Exhibition: Biosecurity and Your Pig Project from the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

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