The Iowa Department of Public Health released a statement yesterday informing the public of three cases of Influenza A/H3N2 virus in children. None of the cases were fatal and all have recovered.
Though there have been several other cases of H3N2 in recent months, this is a unique instance because, as Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, state epidemiologist in Iowa says, “Right now we have every indication that there's person-to-person spread and absolutely no indication whatsoever that there's animal-to-human spread.” In the past, H3N2 was passed from animal to human. Not one of the three cases in Iowa had recorded contact with pigs.
Most of the H3N2 infections to date have been mild and have occurred in young children. It has been suggested that because this virus is distantly related to another H3N2 strain that infected people in the 1990s, many individuals over 21 have some protection against it, whereas younger children do not.
As a result, Iowa has increased its flu surveillance measures and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have asked neighboring states to do the same.