New Strain of Swine Flu Spreading Among Children

by WHIZ Reporter on August 29, 2012 at 6:25 am

The Ohio Department of Health is urging all public schools to be on the lookout for a new strain of swine flu.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, most of the 99 people affected in Ohio by the H3N2v strain are children.

Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department Medical Director Dr. Vicki Whitacre said the message from the ODC comes just in time as children headed back to school.

"The concern is that this may mutate or change enough in the pig or in a person to then make it person to person, easily transferred, then we’ll have a problem," said Whitacre, "because nobody is going to have immunity to this particular strain because we’ve not had any vaccine to it."

With many farmers in the area, Whitacre said minimizing contact with swines and practicing good personal hygiene can keep the flu from spreading to pandemic proportions.

"You have to have fairly close contact," Whitacre said.  "Almost all cases are pig to a person, that are documented, there are 2 or 3 that are thought to before a person who caught it from the pig and them to another family member."

No deaths have been reported, but 13 people nationwide have been hospitalized.

Whitacre recommends that everybody get a flu shot in order to help prevent the spread of other influenza strains.