Human infections with influenza A(H3N2) variant virus in the United States, 2011-2012

Academic Article


  • Background. During August 2011-April 2012, 13 human infections with influenza A(H3N2) variant (H3N2v) virus were identified in the United States; 8 occurred in the prior 2 years. This virus differs from previous variant influenza viruses in that it contains the matrix (M) gene from the Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 pandemic influenza virus.Methods. A case was defined as a person with laboratory-confirmed H3N2v virus infection. Cases and contacts were interviewed to determine exposure to swine and other animals and to assess potential person-to-person transmission.Results. Median age of cases was 4 years, and 12 of 13 (92%) were children. Pig exposure was identified in 7 (54%) cases. Six of 7 cases with swine exposure (86%) touched pigs, and 1 (14%) was close to pigs without known direct contact. Six cases had no swine exposure, including 2 clusters of suspected person-to-person transmission. All cases had fever; 12 (92%) had respiratory symptoms, and 3 (23%) were hospitalized for influenza. All 13 cases recovered.Conclusions. H3N2v virus infections were identified at a high rate from August 2011 to April 2012, and cases without swine exposure were identified in influenza-like illness outbreaks, indicating that limited person-to-person transmission likely occurred. Variant influenza viruses rarely result in sustained person-to-person transmission; however, the potential for this H3N2v virus to transmit efficiently is of concern. With minimal preexisting immunity in children and the limited cross-protective effect from seasonal influenza vaccine, the majority of children are susceptible to infection with this novel influenza virus. © 2013 Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Epperson S; Jhung M; Richards S; Quinlisk P; Ball L; Moll M; Boulton R; Haddy L; Biggerstaff M; Brammer L
  • Volume

  • 57
  • Issue

  • SUPPL.1