Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: MMWR; Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Early Release / Vol. 60 September 2, 2011
Swine-Origin Influenza A (H3N2) Virus Infection in Two Children — Indiana and Pennsylvania, July–August 2011
Influenza A viruses are endemic in many animal species, including humans, swine, and wild birds, and sporadic cases of transmission of influenza A viruses between humans and animals do occur, including human infections with avian-origin influenza A viruses (i.e., H5N1 and H7N7) and swine-origin influenza A viruses (i.e., H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2) (1). Genetic analysis can distinguish animal origin influenza viruses from the seasonal human influenza viruses that circulate widely and cause annual epidemics. This report describes two cases of febrile respiratory illness caused by swine-origin influenza A (H3N2) viruses identified on August 19 and August 26, 2011, and the current investigations. No epidemiologic link between the two cases has been identified, and although investigations are ongoing, no additional confirmed human infections with this virus have been detected. These viruses are similar to eight other swine-origin influenza A (H3N2) viruses identified from previous human infections over the past 2 years, but are unique in that one of the eight gene segments (matrix [M] gene) is from the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) virus. The acquisition of the M gene in these two swine-origin influenza A (H3N2) viruses indicates that they are "reassortants" because they contain genes of the swine-origin influenza A (H3N2) virus circulating in North American pigs since 1998 (2) and the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) virus that might have been transmitted to pigs from humans during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. However, reassortments of the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) virus with other swine influenza A viruses have been reported previously in swine (3). Clinicians who suspect influenza virus infection in humans with recent exposure to swine should obtain a nasopharyngeal swab from the patient for timely diagnosis at a state public health laboratory and consider empiric neuraminidase inhibitor antiviral treatment to quickly limit potential human transmission (4).