What is H3N2v?
The H3N2v is a new influenza virus that is infecting people—mainly children—who have had contact with sick pigs, often at county fairs.
How is it spreading?
A growing number of cases have been confirmed in several states including Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. The H3N2v virus is transmitted from pigs to humans through the air (when an infected pig coughs or sneezes), or by touch (when surfaces that were infected are touched, and then the person touches their own eyes, nose, or mouth). Human infections are most likely to occur when people are near live infected pigs, such as working with them in barns and livestock exhibits at fairs. At this time, there is no sign that the virus is being spread from person to person.
People cannot get the H3N2v virus by eating pork or pork products.
What are the symptoms?
Influenza (flu) is an infection of the nose, throat and lungs caused by an influenza virus. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, and runny nose, and possibly other symptoms, such as body aches, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. Symptoms may last anywhere from 3 to 8 days.
How serious is the illness?
Most cases are mild, similar to the seasonal flu. Although this year’s flu vaccine DOES NOT provide protection against this specific infection with the H3N2v virus, it is recommended that all children, adolescents and adults receive the seasonal influenza vaccine to protect them against seasonal flu. The CDC is working to track the spread and impact of this virus. For more information from the CDC, click here.
Is my child at risk?
Some people are at high risk of flu complications (for example, those with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or neurological conditions, or who are pregnant or younger than 5 years, older than 65 years of age or have weakened immune systems). These people should take special care to avoid contact with pigs, and people visiting fairs should wash their hands frequently and avoid eating or drinking in animal areas. These people should see their doctor immediately if they develop flu-like symptoms and patients should tell their doctor at that time if they have had recent contact with pigs.
How do I protect my child?
To protect children, parents and other adult caregivers should do the following and help children do the same.
- Avoid close contact with animals that look or act ill.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and running water, including before and after touching animals.
- Do not eat, drink, or put anything in your mouth when visiting animal areas.
- Avoid contact with those who are ill, especially when they have recently been around pigs.
- Keep children home if they have influenza symptoms.
- Make sure your child drinks plenty of liquids to avoid getting dehydrated.
- Encourage and help your child to rest.
- Stay informed because information is continually being updated. Know what’s going on in your area and follow the recommendations of public health authorities.
Contact your child’s pediatrician if you have questions, and especially if your child …
- Is younger than 3 months and has a fever (rectal temperature of 100.4°F [38°C] or higher)
- Is sick and has a serious chronic health condition, including lung or heart problems, asthma, diabetes, kidney problems, a weakened immune system, or a serious neurologic or neuromuscular condition (not ADHD or autism)
- Is more sleepy than usual or not waking up or acting normally
- Has little or no energy to play or keep up with daily activities
- Is not drinking enough fluids to make urine
- Has trouble breathing or is breathing fast
- Is very irritable and cannot be comforted
- Has skin color that is blue or gray
Parents and caregivers who have questions about their child’s flu like illness should contact their pediatrician. Updates and more information about local H3N2v outbreaks are available at www.flu.gov or www.cdc.gov.