H3N2 outbreak hits Zimbabwe

An outbreak of H3N2 influenza in Zimbabwe has left at least one person dead and affected more than 140,000 people across the country.

Director for Epidemiology and Disease Control at the Zimbabwean Ministry of Health and Child Welfare Dr. Portia Manangazira said that it is typical to see an increase in the number of influenza cases every winter, but the large surge in recorded H3N2 cases is troubling, according to

"There has been an upsurge in the number of influenza cases. We have only recorded one death so far. The virus is likely to continue spreading as the cold season is still upon us," Manangazira said, reports.

Manangazira said the figures on H3N2 infections were determined using a weekly surveillance report compiled by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.

The report noted that the contagious illness has left some severely ill, for others it has been life threatening.

The state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation reported that H3N2 influenza is spreading quickly throughout the entire country.

H3N2 influenza, or swine flu, is a respiratory disease that normally infects pigs and is caused by type A influenza viruses. Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans, but variant strains that can do so occasionally appear, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.