Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

New Strain of Swine Flu Emerges

From a Oct 22, 2010 Reuters Health Information news release

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The H1N1 swine flu virus may be starting to mutate, and a slightly new form has begun to predominate in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, researchers reported on Thursday.

More study is needed to tell whether the new strain is more likely to kill patients and whether the current vaccine can protect against it completely, said Ian Barr of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne, Australia and colleagues.

“However, it may represent the start of more dramatic antigenic drift of the pandemic influenza A(H1N1) viruses that may require a vaccine update sooner than might have been expected,” they wrote in the online publication Eurosurveillance.

It is possible it is both more deadly and also able to infect people who have been vaccinated, they said.

Flu viruses mutate constantly — this is why people need a fresh flu vaccine every year. Since it broke out in March 2009 and spread globally, the H1N1 swine flu virus has been very stable with almost no mutation….

“The virus has changed little since it emerged in 2009, however, in this report we describe several genetically distinct changes in the pandemic H1N1 influenza virus,” Barr’s team wrote in the report, available at http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=19692.

“These variants were first detected in Singapore in early 2010 and have subsequently spread through Australia and New Zealand.”

The changes are not significant yet, they said. But there have been some cases of people who were vaccinated also becoming infected, and also some deaths.

“Already this variant virus has been associated with several vaccine breakthroughs in teenagers and adults vaccinated in 2010 with monovalent pandemic influenza vaccine (protecting against only H1N1) as well as a number of fatal cases from whom the variant virus was isolated,” they wrote.

But there is not enough information to tell whether there may have been other factors making the patients more vulnerable, they stressed.

“It remains to be seen whether this variant will continue to predominate for the rest of the influenza season in Oceania and in other parts of the southern hemisphere and then spread to the northern hemisphere or merely die out,” they wrote.

 

A few good resources to keep up with H1N1 news

  • Flu.gov is a “comprehensive government-wide information on seasonal, H1N1 (swine), H5N1 (bird) and pandemic influenza for the general public, health and emergency preparedness professionals, policy makers, government and business leaders, school systems, and local communities”
    Flu.gov includes an option for email updates, printable fact sheets and other printable resources, news articles, FAQs, and much more
  • Influenza (World Health Organization)

 

October 23, 2010 - Posted by | Public Health | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] Leer completo en: New Strain of Swine Flu Emerges […]

    Pingback by New Strain of Swine Flu Emerges | Todo sobre la Influenza AH1N1 | All About Influenza | October 23, 2010 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: