5 Facts About the New Strain of Swine Flu
Allison Tsai | Aug 9, 2012
A new strain of the H1N1 virus that was responsible for the 2009 pandemic has been gaining some momentum in the U.S. The variant strain, H3N2, has been popping up in several states with similar symptoms.
The virus has been spreading at agricultural fairs
Recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a precaution for people attending agricultural fairs to steer clear of pigs or to take steps to prevent the spread of the virus when handling them.
12 new cases have been reported
Of the 12 cases, 10 came from Ohio, 1 from Indiana and 1 from Hawaii. All of the people infected had been in direct or indirect contact with pigs, except the patient in Hawaii who had merely been at a fair where sick pigs were present. These 12 cases bring the total for the new variant swine flu infections to 29 since fall of 2011.
The new strain may spread more easily
The H3N2 strain contains the M gene from the H1N1 virus, which can make the new strain spread more easily to humans and among them, according to a CDC official.
Children under 10 are most susceptible
According to the CDC, research suggests that children under 10 do not have much immunity against the new virus, but adults could have some immunity due to exposure to other flu viruses in their lifetime. Other groups at high risk for serious complications include people over 65, pregnant women and people with asthma, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems or neurological conditions.
Only a lab test can tell if you have swine flu
The symptoms of the new strain of swine flu include fever, depression, coughing, runny eyes and nose, redness in the eyes, difficulty breathing, inflammation and loss of appetite. These are similar symptoms to human flu viruses, which is why a lab test is needed to determine which is present.