ATLANTA (AP) —
Health officials Thursday reported a five-fold increase of cases of a new
strain of swine flu that spreads from pigs to people.
case count jumped from 29 a week ago to 158 this week, thanks to a wave of
new cases confirmed in Indiana and Ohio, the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention said. Most of the cases have been tied to state and county
agricultural fairs, where visitors are put in close contact with infected
pigs, said the CDC's Dr. Joseph Bresee.
cases include at least 113 in Indiana, 30 in Ohio, one in Hawaii and one
in Illinois, Bresee said.
Most of the
infected patients are children — probably because many were working
closely with raising, displaying and visiting pigs at the agricultural
fairs, Bresee said.
diagnosis of cases has become quicker in the last week. CDC no longer must
confirm a case with its own lab. Now states are using CDC test kits to
confirm cases on their own on, speeding the process along. The patients
were likely infected a week or two ago.
The CDC has
been tracking cases since last summer. A concern: the new strain has a
gene from the 2009 pandemic strain that might let it spread more easily
than pig viruses normally do.
The good news
is the flu does not seem to be unusually dangerous. Almost all of the
illnesses have been mild and no one has died. Two of the recent cases were
hospitalized, but both recovered and were discharged, added Bresee, the
agency's chief of influenza epidemiology.
More good news
is that all of the recent cases appear to have spread from pigs to humans,
meaning it's not very contagious, at least between people.
probably will be more cases in the weeks ahead, and it won't be surprising
if at least a few of them involve person-to-person transmission, Bresee