By Dr. Mercola | mercola
According to the featured report by US News Health1, a new influenza A variant strain of swine flu, H3N2v, has been identified in children and adults recently in direct contact with pigs at country fairs. The CDC case count of detected human infections in the US with the H3N2-variant currently stands at 154.2
Fortunately, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states the virus is still principally limited to swine, and poses a very limited threat as it appears to spread to humans only with great difficulty, and appears to cause only mild disease when it does.
Influenza A viruses infect humans, swine and wild birds. Transmission of avian-origin influenza A viruses (H5N1 and H7N7) and swine origin influenza A viruses (H1N1, H1N2 and H3N2) between humans and animals does occur.
In August 2011, two cases of swine-origin influenza A (H3N2) virus infection were identified in two children under five years old in different states, and both had been given seasonal influenza vaccine in 2010 (which contained the pandemic H1N1 swine flu virus strain) and had had recent contact with pigs before they got sick.
According to the CDC3, the swine-origin H3N2 influenza virus the two young children became infected with last year was a new “reassortment” virus variant that contained “genes of the swine-origin influenza A (H3N2) virus circulating in North American pigs since 1998 and the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) virus that might have been transmitted to pigs from humans during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.”
Six months later, the FDA selected the H3N2 influenza A virus strain to be one of the three strains included in this year’s seasonal influenza vaccine, along with the pandemic H1N1 influenza A virus strain and an influenza B strain (B/Wisconsin1/2010-like virus). According to the US News Health media report:
“The reason the CDC is concerned about this particular virus is that it contains an element seen in the pandemic 2009 swine flu strain, H1N1, which may make it more likely for the virus to spread from person-to-person,” US News Health reports.4
“All 29 cases were infected with strains of H3N2 ‘that contained the matrix (m) gene from the influenza A H1N1 pandemic virus,’ Bresee explained. ‘This ‘m’ gene may confer increased transmissibility to and among humans, compared with other variant influenzas viruses.’
In addition, the virus appears to have become more active recently, the CDC said. ‘The virus was first detected in humans in July 2011, and since then there have been 29 total cases of H3N2 variant virus detected, including the 16 cases occurring in the last three weeks,’ Bresee said.
…Each of the recent 16 cases were among people who had direct contact with pigs. In 15 cases, contact happened at a county fair… Fortunately, sustained person-to-person transmission of the virus hasn’t happened yet, he added.” [Emphasis mine]
According to this media report (which does not explain the discrepancy between a detection of “29 cases” with the detected “154 cases” the CDC is reporting), symptoms of the H3N2 flu are similar to seasonal flu. However it’s well worth noting that not one of the recent 16 cases required hospitalization. And no deaths have resulted from it so far. Last year, three people with underlying disease did require hospitalization.
Since this strain is a pig virus, the CDC sensibly advises limiting your contact with swine, and avoiding all contact with sick swine. If you do have contact with swine, make sure you wash your hands, and do not eat or drink in the vicinity of the animals.
Why is This New Pig Virus in the 2012 Seasonal Flu Vaccine?
According to an August 13 press release by the US Food and Drug Administration5, the 2012-2013 influenza vaccine formulation for all six manufacturers licensed to produce and distribute the vaccines in the United States will contain the following formulation:
- A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus
- A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus
- B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus.
The big question is whether the mass use of H1N1 influenza vaccine in the U.S. in the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 flu season somehow contributed to the reassortment of the swine-origin H1N1 and H3N2 influenza A viruses to create the new variant H3N2 influenza viral infections detected in the past year. I don’t have a solid answer to this question, but it’s worth at least considering…
There are inactivated, injectable vaccines, and live virus, inhaled vaccine. Live viruses in vaccines are shed for a period of time in body fluids6, so live influenza vaccine strain viruses could theoretically recombine with other influenza viruses to create new variant versions.
Multiple Faux Pandemics “In the Works”?
This new swine variant virus isn’t the only contender for the next pandemic. Just last month I wrote about renewed fears about the bird flu virus, H5N1 – yet another animal virus that doesn’t easily spread among humans, but is feared to have the capability to mutate and give rise to a human pandemic.
While it’s prudent to be aware that influenza viruses can be transmitted between animals and humans and a pandemic could occur, what we’ve repeatedly seen is that this slim possibility is massively over-sold, allowing drug companies to rake in billions of dollars for inadequately tested vaccines and other dangerous and/or ineffective anti-viral drugs.
In recent years we’ve seen a number of media hyped flu pandemics that never materialized. Sadly, each time a greater number of people ended up being harmed by the drugs and vaccines than died from the “pandemic” virus:
- The non-existent 1976 swine flu pandemic: In 1976 the U.S. acted out the first swine flu pandemic scare, devising a vaccine program in which 45 million people were vaccinated for a swine flu epidemic that never came. The hastily created mass vaccination program resulted in hundreds of Guillain-Barre Syndrome paralysis victims and 25 deaths for a flu pandemic that failed to materialize. Within a few months, claims totaling $1.3 billion had been filed by victims, who were permanently disabled from the vaccine, and more people died from the vaccine than from the virus itself.
- The 2005 bird flu hoax: Headlines warned the U.S. was facing a cataclysmic extermination event, with a calculated two million Americans succumbing to the bird flu. The best case scenario called for the death of 200,000 Americans. Then, as now, constant references to the tragedy of 1918 heightened the fear factor to a fever pitch, despite the fact that the scientific data did not support the aggressively hyped claims that instilled fear and panic in a lot of Americans.
The formula public health officials used to project the numbers of people who would die from the proposed 2005 bird flu pandemic as that they translated the minuscule number of deaths of bird handlers that had occurred worldwide into an impending extermination-level event from a virus that did not – and still does not – readily spread from birds to humans, nor between humans.
Most of the people who acquire bird-origin influenza virus infection were, and still are, bird handlers in continuous contact with sick birds. However, when it comes to keeping the public in constant fear of infectious diseases, often common sense is thrown out the window…
- Bird flu hoax repeats: In 2006, 2007, and again in 2008, media hyped warnings over the bird flu were repeatedly exposed as little more than orchestrated efforts to instill fear and line the pocketbooks of the pharmaceutical industry and various special interest groups connected with the pharmaceutical industry.
- The 2009 swine flu hoax: After four consecutive years of bird flu warnings that just refused to come to fruition, the H1N1 swine flu became front-page news again. This turned out to be yet another faux threat that cost tax payers billions of dollars, and in which fast tracked pandemic H1N1 vaccines were pushed on millions of people. The 2009 H1N1 vaccine was one of the most reactive flu vaccines ever created and, just like its 1976 predecessor, harmed far more people than the virus itself.
Remember? H1N1 Vaccine was Not Only Ineffective, But Unusually Dangerous…
As you may recall, the fast-tracked pandemic 2009-2010 H1N1 swine flu vaccine turned out to be particularly reactive – far more reactive than previous seasonal flu vaccines. Will this season’s trivalent flu vaccine – containing two swine origin influenza A viruses – pandemic H1N1 and H3N2 – usher in a repeat performance?