Kentucky H3N2v Case Raises Serious Pandemic Concerns

Sunday, September 2, 2012
By Paul Martin
September 1, 2012

The CDC has released another series of July / August H3N2v sequences (collected between July 29 – August10) from isolates in Michigan (A/Michigan/14/2012), West Virginia (A/West Virginia/15/2012), Illinois (A/Illnois/09/2012), Ohio (A/Ohio/52/2012), Indiana (A/Indiana/20/2012 and A/Indiana/65/2012) and Kentucky (A/Kentucky/11/2012). All sets of sequences were closely related to each other and the 34 prior sets of sequences from Hawaii, Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin indicating the novel sub-clade had clonally spread across the United States via sustained human transmisison. These sequences were closely related to the prior 2012 isolate, A/Utah/10/2012, as well as the two sequences from a 2011 West Virginia day care cluster A/West Virginia/06/2011 and A/West Virginia/07/2011, where 23 contacts of the index case had ILI and there was no swine contact or exposure.

All of the above sequences were from outbreaks which have been described by the CDC in various publications such as FluView, MMWR, Have You Heard, or various H3N2v website including the state case count that is updated each Friday, with the exception of the Kentucky isolate. That sample was collected on August 5, 2012 and was deposited at GISAID on August 24, but not released until today.

Thus, the CDC was well aware of the Kentucky case prior to updates on August 24 and 31, but this case was not cited.

However, on August 16, 2012 Ashton-Boyd County issued a press release and the Kentucky Health and Family Services Cabinet issued a health alert on the detection of seasonal H3N2 and claimed that “No cases of the H3N2 variant influenza that contain genetic material from swine influenza have been reported in Kentucky to date”.

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