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Cedar Rapids child diagnosed with rare strain of swine flu

Published: Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 11:43 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 11:44 a.m. CDT

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Cedar County health officials are stepping up flu surveillance since a child there was diagnosed with a flu virus normally found in pigs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the H3N2v influenza A strain in the child, KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids reported.

State epidemiologist Dr. Patricia Quinlisk said the child, who has since recovered, had not been in contact with swine, one of the modes of transmission.

Health professionals in and around Cedar County are being asked to take more specimens for testing from people who might have the flu, Quinlisk said.

Three Iowa children had the same strain in November 2011, Quinlisk said. All recovered.

Nationally, 320 cases of the flu strain have been reported in the United States since July 2011, according to the CDC. One person has died from the strain and 16 have been hospitalized this year. Quinlisk said none of those were in Iowa.

The virus has mostly been associated with prolonged exposure to swine exhibits at county fairs, but human-to-human spread of the virus has been recorded in Iowa and West Virginia, according to the CDC. People do not get swine flu by eating pork.

Symptoms and severity of the H3N2v virus are similar to seasonal flu, with fever and breathing difficulties, cough and runny nose, and sometimes other symptoms, including body aches, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

Health officials recommend that members of the public, especially the young and old, avoid contact with swine and those with flu symptoms and be vigilant about washing their hands.

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