Swine flu variant discovered in 5 US States
4th January 2012

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have confirmed that there have been 12 incidents of a new strain of the swine flu virus within the last 5 months, spanning across 5 different states. The new virus has been appointed the name “A(H3N2)v”, with the “v” standing for “variant”, to segregate it from the seasonal A(H3N2) virus. The new virus is a variant of the aforementioned that spreads amongst pigs and retains the matrix gene from the original pandemic 2009 influenza A(H1N1) virus.

In Maine, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, victims to the new virus became infected following direct or indirect contact with pigs. Whereas in Iowa and West Virginia, (the 2 other states to see cases of the new strain) analysis would indicate that the virus was contracted via human to human, albeit on a limited basis. The latest three cases to be reported occurred in two children who attended the same day care centre in West Virginia, and a male adult from Indiana who actually worked with swine. All 12 patients diagnosed with the virus made a full recovery. In addition, A(H3N2)v in general will cause no illness that is significantly worse than those brought on by the seasonal influenza virus.

Unfortunately, there is some bad news for those concerned about the new strain. The CDC have revealed that it is unlikely that the seasonal influenza vaccine for 2011-2012 will protect you from A(H3N2)v. The CDC say the strain differs enough from current human flu viruses so the vaccine is "not expected to provide significant protection." However, they are still encouraging everyone to get vaccinated regardless. Moreover, experts have thus far conducted limited serologic studies and it would seem that young children have very little preexisting immunity from the new strain, while older children and adults may have some limited immunity.

If you require treatment or the prevention of various influenzas such as swine flu, at Medical Specialists we can help. We now offer Tamiflu from as little as £77.50 per pack. Tamiflu belongs to a group of medicines named “neuraminidase inhibitors”. These medicines prevent the influenza virus from spreading inside the body and so help to ease or prevent the symptoms arising from the influenza virus infection. You can order Tamiflu either through a consultation with one of our registered doctors, or through a prescription from your own GP.