By Sadie Slager
After the initial H1N1 or swine flu outbreak of 2009, the virus has returned and affected Ohio residents. The Ohio Department of Health has recognized a new strain of the virus, and it is being referred to as H3N2v.
According to the Center for Disease Control’s Nancy Cox, the first onset of swine flu in the United States was March 28, 2009. President Obama declared the 2009 outbreak a national emergency, MSNBC states, as cases occurred in all 50 states and 2,837 deaths were reported.
CNN reported that the H3N2v strain developed as a “matrix gene” as H1N1 and H3N2 occurred simultaneously in a mammal. Hagan said the virus is spread between humans through sneezing, coughing and contact with infected surfaces.
The first fatality from the H3N2v strain was that of a 61-year-old Cincinnati woman, CBS News reports.
CBS News said this death, as well as other cases of the virus, was caused by contact with pigs at county fairs.
According to the CDC, Indiana has the highest number of reported cases of the virus in 2012 while Ohio has the second highest number as of Aug. 31.
In addition to Ohio and Indiana, swine flu has been reported in Penn., Wis. and Minn. with mre than 289 infections. As of Aug. 31, 101 cases were discovered in Ohio alone. These numbers show a large increase in swine flu cases as compared to the 12 reported cases in 2011, the New York Times reported.
Dr. Joseph Bresee, an expert in the CDC’s Influenza Division, said that cases result from exposure to pigs, either directly or indirectly, and that veterinarians and farmers have been exposed as well. According to CNN, Bresee also said steps are being taken to create a vaccine for the new strain of virus.
Ted Wymyslo, the director of the Ohio Department of Health, said certain groups of people should take extra precautions to avoid the virus. These groups include those with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, those with ongoing medical conditions and young children.
People at a higher risk should particularly avoid contact with pigs, according to CBS News. Cases could become more serious and life threatening for people in these risk groups, according to Lynn Finelli of the CDC.
Signs of H3N2v include a headache, cough, soreness throughout the body, fever, runny nose or excessive fatigue. Anyone with these symptoms should report to a health facility.