Swine‐Origin Novel Influenza A Case in Maine: Maine Veterinarians Asked to Monitor Swine for ILI

Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) is investigating a human case of novel influenza virus of swine origin. Federal CDC confirmed the novel strain in a child from Cumberland County earlier this week. No additional human cases have been identified at this time. A joint investigation with the Maine Department of Agriculture and federal CDC is ongoing.

Influenza viruses are commonly found in humans, swine, birds, and other animals. Since 2005, 26 cases of human infection with swine origin influenza viruses have been reported in the United States, 13 with the H3N2 subtype. The type of influenza identified in the Maine case is similar to previous, rare human infections with swine‐origin H3N2 viruses, but it also contains a genetic component of the pandemic H1N1 virus. This is genetically similar to four previous cases identified in the United States this year, three in Pennsylvania and one in Indiana, all of which had exposure to swine.

This child became ill early in October 2011 with symptoms similar to seasonal influenza including fever, cough, headache, sore throat and myalgia. Prior to illness the child had exposure to swine including time spent in a closed setting at an agricultural fair. Currently this is an isolated event and Maine CDC is not aware of any person to person transmission, although enhanced surveillance is being implemented.

The Maine Department of Agriculture is investigating reports of ill swine and is requesting veterinarians throughout the state to monitor swine for signs of Influenza like Illness (ILI). ILI in swine consists of fever with serous nasal discharge, sneezing, difficulty breathing and coughing. Swine with clinical signs consistent with influenza should be reported to State Veterinarian Dr. Don Hoenig by calling 207‐287‐ 7615.

Swine‐origin influenza is rare in humans, but veterinarians should remind owners and those who work closely with swine to watch for symptoms of ILI in themselves and their families. Any person with ILI (defined as fever greater than 100° with cough or sore throat) should contact their primary care provider for follow up.

More information on swine‐origin influenza viruses is available at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/swineflu/variant.htm.

Reprinted with permission.