As per a shocking announcement by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a new strain named H3N2 has been contracted by two children previously vaccinated for the H1N1 influenza. It has been referred to as a virus “reassortment,” and has been treated successfully, but the fear of what’s coming next is concerning!
The viruses are similar to each other but not identical. Because they contain a supposed matrix gene from the pandemic H1N1 influenza strain, they differ from the other 8 H3N2 infections identified in people over the past two years.
The newly identified variant is a hybrid between H3N2 swine influenza as well as the pandemic virus H1N1 as it contains genes from both the types.
Although the infected kid had no direct contact with pigs, he was cared for by someone who was in direct contact with asymptomatic animals in the earlier weeks; consequently, the boy showed symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea, and sore throat, 2 days later.
Then again, the girl developed symptoms of fever, nonproductive cough, and lethargy 4 days after she had been to an agricultural fair where she came in direct contact with the pigs.
According to the CDC report, “Although reassortment between swine influenza and 2009 influenza H1N1 viruses has been reported in pigs in the United States, this particular genetic combination of swine influenza virus segments is unique and has not been reported previously in either swine or humans, based on a review of influenza genomic sequences publicly available in GenBank. Analysis of data submitted to GenBank via the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Swine Influenza Virus Surveillance Program subsequent to this case identified two additional influenza H3N2 isolates from swine containing the M gene from the 2009 influenza H1N1 virus. Genome sequencing is underway to completely characterize the genetic composition of these two swine influenza isolates.”
Although the viruses in these 2 patients are susceptible to the neuraminidase inhibitor drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir, they are resistant to amantadine and rimantadine. Presently, there is no information regarding the virus capability to transfer proficiently in swines, humans, or between the two, because they carry a unique combination of genes.
The CDC concludes: “The lack of known direct exposure to pigs in one of the two cases described in this report suggests the possibility that limited human-to-human transmission of this influenza virus occurred. Likely transmission of swine-origin influenza H3N2 virus from close contact with an infected person has been observed in past investigations of human infections with swine-origin influenza H3N2 virus, but has not resulted in sustained human-to-human transmission. Preliminary evidence from the investigation of the Indiana case shows no ongoing transmission. No influenza illness has been identified, but if additional chains of transmission are identified rapid intervention is warranted try to prevent further spread