The Korea Herald


CDC: 2 children sickened by novel swine flu strain


Published : Sept. 5, 2011 - 13:12

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A new strain of swine flu has shown up in two children in Pennsylvania and Indiana who had direct or indirect contact with pigs. The virus includes a gene from the 2009 pandemic strain that might let it spread more easily than pig viruses normally do.

So far, there's no sign that the virus has spread beyond the two children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday.

“We wanted to provide some information without being alarmist,” because people have contact with pigs at fairs this time of year and doctors should watch for possible flu cases, said Lyn Finelli, the CDC's flu surveillance chief. “We're always concerned when we see transmission of animal viruses to humans.”

People rarely get flu from pigs _ only 21 cases have been documented in the last five years _ and it's too soon to know how infective this virus will be, she said.

The new strain is a hybrid of viruses that have infected pigs over the last decade and a gene from the H1N1 strain that caused the pandemic two years ago. It is the first combination virus to turn up in people since the pandemic, said Michael Shaw, a lab chief at the CDC. It's classified as an H3N2 virus.

The first case was an Indiana boy under age 5 who was sickened in late July. He had no contact with pigs, but a caretaker did in the weeks before the boy fell ill. He was hospitalized and has recovered, and no other family members appear ill.

The second case was a Pennsylvania girl, also under age 5, who had contact with pigs at an agricultural fair last month. She, too, has recovered, and health officials are investigating reports of illness in other people who went to the fair. No additional cases have been confirmed so far.

The viruses in the two children were similar but not identical. Both were resistant to older flu medicines but not to Tamiflu or Relenza.

The gene from the 2009 pandemic is one of the things that makes this new strain worrisome, said Dr. John Treanor, a flu specialist at the University of Rochester School of Medicine.

“There is some evidence that that gene is particularly important for transmission from person to person,” he said.

This year's vaccine, which is the same as last year's, likely would not protect against the new swine strain, Treanor and Finelli said. They are encouraged that so far it does not appear to have spread easily between people, and that local health officials detected and reported the novel strain so quickly.

“Maybe it will be no big deal but it's important to keep track of this,” Treanor said. (AP)


<한글 기사>

신종플루 변종 출현, 확산 가능성은?

2009년 세계적으로 유행했던 신종플루(H1N1) 바이러스의 유전자가 포함된 새로운 변종(H3N2)이 미국에서 나타났다.

국립질병통제예방센터(CDC)는 펜실베이니아와 인디애나 주에서 돼지와 직접 또 는 간접적으로 접촉한 2명의 아이가 독감 증상을 보여 바이러스를 분석한 결과 신종 플루의 새로운 변종으로 밝혀졌다고 말했다.

이 변종은 지난 10년 사이에 돼지에 유행한 독감 바이러스 유전자와 2년전 세계 적으로 유행했던 신종플루 바이러스 유전자가 혼합된 잡종으로 사람에게 감염을 일으킨 것은 이번이 처음이라고 CDC 연구실장 마이클 쇼(Michael Shaw) 박사가 밝혔다.

돼지로부터 독감이 사람에게 옮겨지는 경우는 아주 드물다. 지난 5년 사이에 돼 지로부터 독감이 감염된 환자는 21명에 불과하다. 이번에 나타난 새로운 변종 바이러스가 얼마만큼의 전염력을 지녔는지는 현재로서는 알 수 없다.

감염된 아이는 5살이 안 된 남자와 여자아이로 여자아이는 지난달 농업박람회에 서 직접 돼지를 만진 뒤 발병했고 남자아이는 돼지와 직접 접촉한 일은 없으나 보호 자가 돼지를 만진 일이 있은 몇 주 후 발병했다.

두 아이에게서 검출된 바이러스는 똑 같지는 않았지만 유사했고 항바이러스제인 타미플루나 리렌자에는 내성을 나타내지 않아 두 아이는 모두 회복되었다.

로체스터 대학 의과대학의 존 트리노 박사는 이 변종이 2009년 유행했던 신종플 루 바이러스의 유전자를 지니고 있다는 사실이 걱정스럽다고 말했다.

금년 독감시즌에 사용된 백신은 작년에 사용된 것과 같기 때문에 이 새로운 변종에는 듣지 않을 것으로 보인다고 그는 덧붙였다. (연합뉴스)