What is H3N2v?
Some influenza A viruses occur naturally in pigs and can cause illness in those animals—these viruses are called “swine flu viruses”. While swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans, occasional human infections have occurred. When swine flu viruses infect humans, the viruses are called “variant viruses”.
The influenza A (H3N2) variant virus, or H3N2v, was first identified in pigs in the United States in 2010. In 2011, twelve cases of human infection with H3N2v occurred in five different states (not including Virginia). In 2012 and 2013, additional cases occurred, including one in 2013 in an out-of-state resident who had contact with swine in Virginia.
How can a person get H3N2v?
Influenza viruses can spread from people to pigs and from pigs to people. Spread from infected pigs to humans is thought to happen in the same way that seasonal influenza viruses spread between people - mainly through infected droplets created when an infected pig coughs or sneezes. If the droplets land in your nose or mouth, or you inhale them, you can be infected. Some evidence indicates that you might get infected by touching something that has virus on it and then touching your own mouth or nose.
How is H3N2v spread?
Most of the cases of H3N2v, including the one case with exposure in Virginia, had prolonged contact with pigs at agricultural fairs. Limited spread from person-to-person has also taken place; however, ongoing (sustained) transmission has not occurred.
What are the symptoms of H3N2v infection?
The symptoms of H3N2v infection are similar to the symptoms of seasonal influenza and can include fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough and runny nose, and possibly other symptoms, such as body aches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Is there a vaccine for H3N2v infection?
Currently, there is no vaccine for H3N2v infection. Scientists have taken early steps to start developing a vaccine; but, according to CDC, no decision to mass produce a vaccine has been made. The seasonal flu vaccine will not protect against H3N2v. Seasonal flu vaccines protect against seasonal influenza viruses. CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a seasonal flu vaccine each year.
What is the treatment for H3N2v?
The same influenza antiviral drugs used to treat seasonal flu are used to treat H3N2v infection. The currently recommended drugs (oseltamivir and zanamivir) are available by prescription from your doctor. Early treatment works better and may be especially important for people with a high-risk condition. If you are prescribed antiviral drugs by your doctor, you should finish all of the medication, according to your doctor’s instructions.
How can I reduce the likelihood of getting H3N2v infection?