Novel strain of influenza detected in U.S.

On November 20, 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed three new cases of a novel strain of influenza in Iowa, bringing the total number of cases of the strain to 10 since July.

The virus, known as swine-origin triple reassortant influenza A (H3N2), has shown to be resistant to some forms of vaccines, and has appeared in Pennsylvania, Maine, Indiana, and now Iowa.

No data has been found to show that the transmission of this strain will occur differently than a seasonal influenza virus. The CDC has advised that control principles and actions taken for seasonal influenza infections are also fitting for the control of A(H3N2)v.

Current CDC research indicates that seasonal vaccines may provide limited protection against infection with A(H3N2)v viruses among adults, but they provide no protection for children. The CDC does recommend the use of vaccines and states, "They remain the best tool for the prevention of seasonal influenza transmission in health care settings, which is currently the greatest risk from influenza during this influenza season."

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workers can protect themselves from the seasonal flu by utilizing hand sanitizers in the workplace, as well as disinfectant and towelettes. Coughs and sneezes should always be covered with a tissue or directed into the upper sleeve. 

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