Influenza: H1N1 Variant-H3N2v Virus Spreading Westward

Monday, January 6, 2014
By Paul Martin
December 28, 2012

The Oklahoma Department of Health reported yesterday that the first reported death from influenza this season had occurred in Tulsa County. There have been 75 cases of flu requiring hospitalization in Oklahoma since October 1 of this year, and 21 of those cases were reported just last week.

The H3N2v flu virus, which is a variant of the H1N1 Swine Flu virus, appears to be making its way westward across the United States. Generally these flu types circulate in pigs, and sometimes are referred to as swine flu, just like the H1N1 swine flu pandemic of 2009.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia (CDC), from July 2011 to December 2011, 12 cases of H3N2v were reported in the United States. From January 2012 to September 2011, 307 cases of the H3N2v virus have been reported in 11 states. There is no statistical information available for the dates from October 1, 2012 to present.

The majority of these cases of the H3N2v virus occur in persons that have prolonged exposure to pigs. Farms and livestock ranches, as well as agricultural fairs and the like seem to be where those infected may have gotten the virus. There has been limited human to human spread of the virus, but there is a substantial increase in the number of states reporting the virus this year, and the total is now up to 29 states reporting this type of flu virus.

According to, precautions should be taken if you have access to livestock, especially pigs. Identifying pigs already infected with the flu virus is optimal.

The major problem with the H3N2v virus is that your standard seasonal flu vaccine is not designed to protect against this type of flu, as reported by

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