Cases of a new, less dangerous strain of swine flu have surged recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. The newest strain of the H3N2 flu that spreads from pigs to people, called H3N2v, infected more than 150 people last week, up from 29 the previous week, according to the CDC. Indications are that the new virus is much less dangerous than the 2009 strain that killed more than 12,000 worldwide, CDC officials said in a news call. For instance, only two of the new patients have required even brief hospitalizations. And most of the new flu cases appear to have spread from pigs to humans, suggesting the strain is less contagious.
Late News: Swine flu strain infections reach triple digits: CDC
Dr. Joseph Bresee, an epidemiologist in the CDC's influenza division, said most of the new cases were in Indiana (113) and Ohio (30). Individuals likely were infected while helping take care of pigs or when viewing swine at summer agricultural fairs, according to the CDC. The CDC has been tracking new cases of this swine flu strain since last year amid concerns that it could spread more easily than other pig viruses because it shares a gene from the 2009 pandemic strain. The existing flu vaccine will not protect against the latest swine flu variant, Bresee said.
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