Novel Influenza A H3N2 Virus identified - Canadians encouraged to get the flu shot and to take the usual precautions

Health & Safety Watch- January 1, 2012 The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that in recent weeks, a new variant of the influenza A H3N2 virus, now referred to as A(H3N2)v has been identified in the United States. A(H3N2)v is a swine origin influenza virus which also has genes from birds and humans, and usually infects pigs.
The U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has detected 12 cases of human influenza infection caused by the A(H3N2)v since July 2011. According to the CDC, most infections with the virus have resulted in mild, self-limited respiratory illnesses; three people, all with underlying medical conditions, were hospitalized, but have since recovered.
Early cases of infection with A(H3N2)v were associated with contact with pigs, but more recent cases were not, suggesting that A(H3N2)v is now capable of limited human to human spread.
No cases of the A(H3N2)v influenza virus have been identified in Canada. As is the case for all new variant influenza strains however, the Public Health Agency of Canada is working with provinces and territories to closely monitor the situation and has increased its surveillance for A(H3N2)v in Canada.
The Public Health Agency of Canada continues to encourage Canadians to get the flu shot and to take the usual precautions such as regular hand washing and coughing or sneezing into your arm, to protect themselves from the flu.
In collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has also issued information for the food production industry to help protect animal and human health during the flu season.
There are other steps Canadians can take to protect themselves and others from the flu. For more information visit or get a copy of Fight Flu: Your Seasonal Flu Guide. more story at Health & Safety Watch