Yesterday's MMWR Notifiable Diseases and Mortality Tables telegraphed this story, as it listed several novel flu reports from Ohio, but today's FluView identifies them as 3 cases of H3N2v, all linked to swine exposure at county fairs.
This is the third week in a row with reports of swine variant influenza out of Ohio, with 1 H1N2v case reported last week, and 11 cases of H3N2v reported the week before.Today's report reads:
Three additional human infections with novel influenza A viruses were detected in Ohio during week 31. Three persons, all attendees at the same agricultural fair, were infected with influenza A (H3N2) variant (H3N2v) viruses. All three patients were children younger than 18 years of age who reported direct exposure to swine in a fair setting during the week preceding illness onset. None of the three patients were hospitalized, and all have fully recovered from their illness. No human-to-human transmission of these viruses has been identified. Public health and agriculture officials are investigating the extent of disease among humans and swine, but no increases in influenza-like illness in the community have been reported.
To date, a total of 15 (Texas  and Ohio ) human infections with H3N2v viruses and one (Ohio ) human infection with H1N2v virus have been identified during 2017.
Early identification and investigation of human infections with novel influenza A viruses are critical to ensure timely risk assessment and so that appropriate public health measures can be taken. Additional information on influenza in swine, variant influenza infection in humans, and strategies to interact safely with swine can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/swineflu/index.htm.
When swine influenza viruses jump to humans, they are dubbed swine variant viruses. The CDC describes Swine Variant viruses in their Key Facts FAQ.
What is a variant influenza virus?
When an influenza virus that normally circulates in swine (but not people) is detected in a person, it is called a “variant influenza virus.” For example, if a swine origin influenza A H3N2 virus is detected in a person, that virus will be called an “H3N2 variant” virus or “H3N2v” virus.As state and county fair season continues over the summer and into fall, it would not be unexpected to see additional, scattered reports of swine variant infection, as these venues tend to put a lot of people into close contact with pigs.
For more information on swine variant viruses, and how to protect yourself when in contact with farm animals, the CDC provides the following guides.
- Key Facts for People Exhibiting Pigs at Fairs[545 KB, 2 pages]
- Take Action to Prevent the Spread of Flu Between People and Pigs[1.3 MB, 2 pages]
- Educational Posters[389 KB, 1 page]
- Compendium of Measures to Prevent Disease Associated with Animals in Public Settings, 2013.
- Reduce Your Risk (English)[22 KB, 1 page] | (Spanish)[22 KB, 1 page]
- Measures to Minimize Influenza Transmission at Swine Exhibitions, 2016 – NASAHO and NASPHV[97 KB, 8 pages]