Reports: Officials watching for H3N2v mutations

With more than 160 confirmed cases of H3N2v nationwide, health officials are watching to see if the virus mutates to be transmissible from person-to-person, according to news reports.

So far, the H3N2v virus, commonly known as swine flu, only has been transmitted between sick pigs and humans, with most of the infected  being people that work with pigs or have visited fairs. Of the more than 160 infected, 138 people have been sickened in Indiana alone.

People who have caught the virus have presented with mild symptoms, such as coughs and fevers, with only two being hospitalized. However, health officials are watching the virus’ progression and researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are looking at creating an H3N2v vaccine, according to the Indianapolis Star.

The spike in cases – from only 12 last year to more than 160 this year – could be due to increased surveillance, according to the CDC.

The concern is the virus could mutate to be transmissible from person-to-person and cause a pandemic, much like the 2009 outbreak of the H1N1 virus. However, officials aren’t jumping to any conclusions yet.

“Many of them fizzle out,” Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of the department of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center told the Indianapolis Star. “Influenza viruses are fickle. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t, so we just have to watch them very carefully.”

For the full Indianapolis Star story, click here.

For more information and resources from the CDC, click here.

For more information on story and tips on biosecurity, read our previous Neogen blog post here.

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