Two H3N2 cases confirmed

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that it has confirmed two human infections with the swine-related influenza A virus, also known as H3N2.

Both incidents involved exposure to pig settings and fit similar profiles of cases that it sees regularly every year, according to CIDRAP News.

The CDC reported the cases in a special notice of its weekly influenza surveillance report, which has shown that, overall, flu activity remains low. The two cases originated in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

H3N2 infections are nationally notifiable events in the United States. The World Health Organization requires member states to report all Human novel influenza A infections to the global health community.

Early word of the infections has fueled some speculation internationally about a possible new pandemic strain, CIDRAP News reports. Earlier this week, Russian media picked up the U.S. cases based on comments from Russian health officials who had been notified. Russian media reports were then translated and appeared in English-language outlets.

Russian health officials held a news conference on November 15 to emphasize that no human-to-human spread of the H3N2 virus had been seen in the U.S. patients, according to the Russian national news service ITAR-TASS.

The CDC has said that the swine-flu related viruses are not transmitted through pork products and that the triple-reassortant H3N2 viruses are different from the 2009 H1N1 and the seasonal H3N2 viruses.

The CDC also said that it has received, on average over the past few years, three reports of swine-related human flu infections, CIDRAP News reports. This is an increase over past averages, but the CDC believes the cause to be an increase in laboratory capacity and reporting.