Variant H3N2 influenza on the rise in Ohio, Indiana

An additional 14 cases of variant swine-origin H3N2 influenza have been reported in the past week in Ohio and Indiana, bringing the U.S. total to 30 in recent weeks.

Most of the recent cases are related to agricultural fairs in the two states. The Indiana State Department of Health reported six new cases on Friday resulting from contact with pigs. On Monday, the Ohio Department of Health reported 15 overall cases this summer, all of which occurred after county or state fairs, CIDRAP News reports.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised at-risk groups such as small children and the elderly to avoid pigs and swine barns during the summer.

In addition to the swine flu cases in Ohio and Indiana, there has been one case in Hawaii in the past year.

"We haven't seen any transmission from person to person at this point," Gregory Larkin, the Indiana state health commissioner, said, according to CIDRAP News. "All of the confirmed cases have had direct contact with swine."

The H3N2v virus contains the matrix gene from the 2009 H1N1 virus, which could make it easier for the strain to spread from pigs to humans and between humans. While no human-to-human transmissions have been reported this summer, three cases last fall and winter could have been the result of human-to-human transmission.