By Ken Buben, President, FancyScrubs.com
2 children in the United States have been sickened from the new Swine Flu H3N2 here according to the CDC. One child is from Indiana and the other child is from Pennsylvania.
The boy from Indiana was under age 5 and had a flu vaccine in December 2010. He had the following symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea, and sore throat on July 23, 2011. He was treated at a local emergency department where he was via a respiratory specimen to have H3 and was discharged. He returned July 24 worse and was hospitalized. Further tests there showed the H3N2 strain.
The little boy had no direct exposure to swine was identified for this child; however, a caretaker reported direct contact with asymptomatic swine in the weeks before the boy’s illness onset and provided care to the child 2 days before illness onset. No respiratory illness was identified in any of the child’s family or close contacts, the boy’s caretaker, or in the family or contacts of the caretaker.
The 2nd patient was a little girl under age 5 from Pennsylvania. She too received a flu vaccine in September of 2010. She experienced acute onset of fever, nonproductive cough, and lethargy on August 20, 2011 and was taken to a local hospital ER. They used a nasopharyngeal swab test that tested positive for influenza A (by rapid influenza diagnostic test.) She was not treated with influenza antiviral medications and was discharged home the same day. The girl has completely recovered from this illness.
On August 16, 2011, the girl was reported to have visited an agricultural fair where she had direct exposure to swine and other animals. No additional illness in the girl’s family or close contacts has been identified, but illness in other fair attendees continues to be investigated. No additional confirmed swine-origin influenza virus infections have been identified thus far.
No other cases have been detected, the CDC reported, but the lack of exposure to pigs in the first case of the little boy suggests at least limited human-to-human transmission is possible.
What are the implications for public health practice?
This is what was posted on the CDC website about it: “Non-human influenza virus infections rarely result in human-to-human transmission, but the implications of sustained ongoing transmission between humans is potentially severe; therefore, prompt and thorough identification and investigation of these sporadic human infections with non-human influenza viruses are needed to reduce the risk for sustained transmission.”