US confirms Cases of Novel Influenza A Virus!

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported two previous human infections with novel influenza A viruses.

One infection with an influenza A(H1N1) variant (A(H1N1)v) virus was reported by North Dakota that occurred during the 2020-21 influenza season.

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And one infection with influenza (A(H3N2)v) virus was reported by Ohio that occurred during the current 2021-22 influenza season.

Both patients are younger than 18 years of age, were not hospitalized, and have recovered or are recovering from their illness.

Influenza is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system — your nose, throat and lungs. Influenza is commonly called the flu, but it’s not the same as stomach “flu” viruses that cause diarrhea and vomiting.

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For most people, the flu resolves on its own. But sometimes, influenza and its complications can be deadly. 

At first, the flu may seem like a common cold with a runny nose, sneezing and sore throat. But colds usually develop slowly, whereas the flu tends to come on suddenly. And although a cold can be a bother, you usually feel much worse with the flu.

Common signs and symptoms of the flu include:

  • Fever
  • Aching muscles
  • Chills and sweats
  • Headache
  • Dry, persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness and weakness
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Eye pain
  • Vomiting and diarrhea, but this is more common in children than adults

Influenza viruses travel through the air in droplets when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes or talks.

You can inhale the droplets directly, or you can pick up the germs from an object — such as a telephone or computer keyboard — and then transfer them to your eyes, nose or mouth.

Read more: Experts Say the United States Needs to Prepare for Another Pandemic Like COVID

People with the virus are likely contagious from about a day before symptoms appear until about five days after they start.

Children and people with weakened immune systems may be contagious for a slightly longer time.

Influenza viruses are constantly changing, with new strains appearing regularly. If you’ve had influenza in the past, your body has already made antibodies to fight that specific strain of the virus.

If future influenza viruses are similar to those you’ve encountered before, either by having the disease or by getting vaccinated, those antibodies may prevent infection or lessen its severity. But antibody levels may decline over time.

Early identification and investigation of human infections with novel influenza A viruses are critical. As a result, the risk of persistent infection can be more fully understood, and appropriate public health measures can be taken. 

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The 2009–2010 pandemic of swine influenza, caused by the H1N1 influenza virus and declared by the World Health Organization from June 2009 to August 2010, is the most recent flu pandemic involving the virus.

Stay tuned for more news here at the East County Gazette. 

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