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The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports a human infection with a novel influenza A virus that was reported by the Georgia Department of Public Health. The patient was infected with an influenza A(H1N2) variant (A(H1N2)v) virus.

Image/Robert Herriman

The patient is <18 years of age, was not hospitalized, and has recovered from their illness.

An investigation by local public health officials found that the patient had swine contact and had attended agricultural fairs prior to their illness onset. Additional investigation did not identify respiratory illness in any of the patient’s household contacts. No person-to-person transmission of A(H1N2)v virus associated with this patient has been identified.

A total of eight human infections with variant novel influenza A viruses have been reported in the United States in 2022, including three H3N2v (West Virginia) and five H1N2v (Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Wisconsin) viruses.

Swine influenza viruses usually infect swine (pigs) and can, in rare cases, infect humans. Swine influenza viruses are commonly known as “swine flu.” Human infections with “swine flu” usually occur in people exposed to infected pigs, such as people who work in the swine industry, children and/or adults who raise or show pigs, and people who come into direct contact with infected pigs at a fair or other setting. Human infections with swine flu mainly happen when an infected pig coughs or sneezes and the droplets with the virus spread through the air. If these droplets land in the nose or mouth, humans can become infected. There is some evidence that infection can also spread by touching something that has the virus on it and then touching the mouth or nose.

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In the United States, there are three previously detected variants of swine influenza type A viruses that can cause disease in humans: H1N1v, H3N2v, and H1N2v. Pigs that are infected with any of these types of swine flu may exhibit signs of illness such as fever, depression, coughing (barking), discharge from the nose or eyes, sneezing, breathing difficulties, eye redness or inflammation, and going off feed. Not all influenza-infected pigs will show signs of illness or may only be mildly ill. Swine flu can circulate at any time of the year, but like the normal flu season for human influenza viruses, most outbreaks occur in the late fall and winter months.

In rare cases, humans that have come into direct contact with infected pigs might develop flu-like symptoms, such as fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. People have also reported signs of illness including runny nose, sore throat, eye irritation, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.