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Human case of H3N2 swine flu – false alarm or timely heads-up?

This article was originally published in Clinica

Executive Summary

Confirmation of a case of swine-originated H3N2 influenza – which is common in pigs, but rare in humans – has been officially dismissed as insignificant epidemiologically and unrelated to the H1N1 pandemic. However, it does highlight the need for tight virological surveillance, such as to monitor potential mutations or recombination of viruses. The case was confirmed in Kansas, US, the local KAKE News network reported yesterday. It quotes state and national health officials as dismissing any link to the novel H1N1 strain, and the fact that "most animal-originated infections do not result in human-to-human transmission". A rise in the number of such cases – reportedly 14 in the US so far this year, compared to around one per year, normally – is being attributed to tighter monitoring of H1N1 influenza.

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