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Hawaii: Maui pig farmer becomes 18th human infection with rare flu strain - H3N2v

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  • Hawaii: Maui pig farmer becomes 18th human infection with rare flu strain - H3N2v

    HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A variant flu strain has been identified in Hawaii for the first time. The H3N2v virus, which is normally found in pigs, infected a person on Maui earlier this month, according to authorities. It's not the same strain as the H1N1 virus involved in the swine flu pandemic a few years ago.

    The Maui resident went to the doctor after experiencing symptoms consistent with the regular flu, including fever, cough and body aches. Since the patient's physician happened to be part of the state's network that monitors flu-like illnesses, a sample was sent to the state lab for testing. The patient, who was exposed to pigs, has since recovered without any hospitalization.

    "Even though there is no immediate public health threat, in the flu world, this is something of interest because you want to follow any viruses that are not normal. Not part of the normal circulating group," explained state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.


  • #2
    Re: Rare flu strain - H3N2v - identified in Hawaii for first time

    Maui pig farmer gets Hawaii's first known case of rare flu
    Reported by: Marisa Yamane

    A Maui resident who works with pigs contracted a rare form of the flu.

    It's Hawaii's first confirmed case of the H3N2 variant virus.

    Health officials don't want people to panic, but they do want people to be aware of this especially if they have contact with live pigs.

    How it started

    The Centers for Disease Control believes humans transmitted the virus to pigs sometime in 1990's.

    And only recently, pigs have passed it back to humans. It's now considered a variant of the original virus.

    Since last August, only 18 humans are known to have gotten sick from the H3N2v virus, and everyone has since recovered, including the latest case on Maui.

    "I will say it's an isolated area where the case lives. As soon as we were notified of the confirmation, we immediately moved out to investigate. The only contacts this person had while ill was a health care provider and we checked with the health care provider and no further illness," said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.

    The symptoms of the H3N2v virus are similar to the seasonal flu, but ...

    "...there's very limited transmission from human to human. So unlike a seasonal flu which can be transmitted readily within the human population, this particular virus doesn't move well between people," said State Veterinarian Dr. Jim Foppoli.

    "I want to reassure folks there is no known association as far as we know between this flu virus infection and eating pork products," said Park.

    The State Agriculture Department plans to test ten pigs from the suspected herd by doing nasal swabs, to try to find evidence that the herd was indeed infected with the virus.

    Officials say the suspected herd came from California.

    "We're not saying the house is on fire or the sky is falling. This is not that, this is not pandemic," said Park.



    • #3
      Re: Hawaii: Maui pig farmer becomes 18th human infection with rare flu strain - H3N2v

      News Release
      __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _____
      LORETTA J. FUDDY, A.C.S.W., M.P.H.
      Phone: (808) 586-4410
      Fax: (808) 586-4444
      __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _____
      For Immediate Release: July 31, 2012 12-040
      HONOLULU ? Local and federal officials are investigating the cause of a confirmed variant flu case on Maui. The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is working with federal and state partners, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture (HDOA) to find the source of how a Maui resident adult contracted the virus, known as H3N2v virus.
      The resident sought medical attention after experiencing symptoms consistent with the regular flu, including fever, cough, and body aches. Because the patient's primary care doctor is a participant in DOH?s influenza-like illness sentinel network (ILINet), a respiratory specimen was sent to the State Laboratories Division for testing. Lab results for H3N2v virus were confirmed by CDC late last week. The resident has since fully recovered without need for hospitalization.
      "Fortunately, we have a robust surveillance network and our State Laboratory detected this variant virus and conferred with federal partners," stated Health Director Loretta Fuddy. "Thanks to the excellent cooperation of Hawaii's healthcare providers, participation in our sentinel network exceeds CDC recommendations. In addition to our state laboratory?s ability to identify unusual flu strains, sentinel physicians contribute to our ability to catch incidents such as this, which might otherwise fall below the radar."
      The H3N2v virus identified in this case shares genetic similarities to variant flu viruses which have been identified in several other states in the past year. The H3N2v virus has rarely infected humans and has caused only limited human-to-human infection. The small number of previous infections has occurred mostly among children and those who work closely with pigs (e.g., livestock farmers). In this case, preliminary DOH findings suggest the latter exposure, although the investigation is ongoing in collaboration with HDOA.
      ?The virus seems to be behaving as previously observed in other cases, with illness similar to seasonal flu and with no sustained community transmission,? noted State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. ?Still, anyone who develops flu-like illness within a week after close contact with domestic pigs should see their healthcare provider.?
      Additionally, children, pregnant women, elderly, and those with compromised immune systems should be especially careful around pigs and practice good hand washing habits; those who work closely with pigs should take appropriate protective measures, including hand hygiene, personal protective equipment, and regular influenza vaccination.
      ?This particular virus is mainly transmitted through exposure to infected swine and is not transmitted through properly cooked pork,? said HDOA state veterinarian Dr. James Foppoli. ?HDOA veterinarians will be taking samples to investigate the status of swine herds potentially associated with this case. The total number of human cases of swine derived influenza virus suggests that viral transmission from swine to humans is extremely uncommon. However, as in the past, we continue to emphasize that pig farmers and others having close contact with live swine practice good hygienic measures, such as frequent hand washing.?
      Animal samples taken by HDOA will be tested by the DOH State Laboratory as part of their work as a member of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network.
      Additional information about H3N2v virus can be found at Information is also available from DOH Disease Outbreak Control Division at, and from HDOA Animal Disease Control Branch at
      For more information on this news release, contact:
      Judy Kern Janelle Saneishi, Public Information Officer
      Hawaii State Dept. of Health Hawaii State Dept. of Agriculture
      Phone: (808) 587-6372 Phone: (808) 973-9560


      • #4
        Re: Hawaii: Maui pig farmer becomes 18th human infection with rare flu strain - H3N2v

        HONOLULU ? State and federal officials are investigating the cause of a confirmed case of a variant of the swine flu on Maui.

        The state Department of Health said Tuesday multiple agencies are working to find out how the Maui adult contracted the H3N2v virus.

        Lab results were confirmed for the H3N2v virus last week after the adult sought medical attention for fever, cough and body aches. The Maui resident has since fully recovered without needing to be hospitalized.

        The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says since August 2011, a number of U.S. residents were found to be infected with influenza A variant viruses, primarily H3N2v. Infections occurred after contact with swine as well as limited human-to-human transmission.

        It's recommended that those who work closely with pigs to take protective measures.