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New swine flu strain identified out of Pennsylvania.


Two years ago, the swine flu cased a global panic when it spread all over the world. Recently, two new cases of swine flu were found in Pennsylvania, and federal and state officials say they are of a new strain. The two cases were found in preschool children, and though officials say it’s a new strain, they also told the public not to panic because the sickness seems to have been isolated.

The new virus has several components, including elements of the H1N1 virus. In addition, it has parts of a previous, rarer strain of the virus called H3N2. The Centers for Disease Control studied the two cases and included them in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Friday.

Both preschool children, one age 2 and one age 5, came into direct contact with a pig in the days leading up to the sickness. Both children also received a seasonal flu shot last fall, leading officials to believe that the current flu shot does not protect against this strain. The children both recovered from the flu.

Scientists did not find a link between the cases and told the public that humans should not be concerned about catching this particular strain from other humans.

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“At this time, with only one case of this kind identified in Pennsylvania, we cannot yet say there is a significant risk to public health,” said Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Eli Avila. “However, it is something that we are taking very seriously and actively investigating.”

The officials found one of the cases after a 2-year-old little girl from Schuylkill County attended an agricultural fair and had direct contact with pigs. Aug. 20, she became ill, showing symptoms including a dry cough, fever and lethargy. She was not admitted at a local hospital, even though a positive test result came back for Typ-A flu. Officials from the Pennsylvania Health Department are now urging medical professionals to report and send in samples when a patient tests positive for Type-A flu virus.

Bucks County Health Department Director Dr. David Damsker said he is not surprised that there has been a discovery of a new strain of swine flu because the CDC has put forth a great effort to track and identify new strains.

“We’re starting to see more strains that may not have been noticed 20 years ago because we’re looking so closely today,” Damsker said.

Damsker added that even though it’s a new strain, he doesn’t think this particular strain of the swine flu is something to be concerned about.