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United States H3N2 Low Reactors Explode In Week 8 FluView 
Recombinomics Commentary 19:00
March 2, 2012

The CDC week 8 FluView reports a dramatic spike in H3N2 low reactors.  In week six, 6/263 (2.3%) H3N2 isolates tested as low reactors.  In week seven the frequency doubled to 4.8% (14/291) and in today’s report the frequency spiked to 21.6% (88/407).  Thus, for the week 8 report there were 116 new H3N2 isolates tested, and 63.8% (74) tested as low reactors.

The CDC has released 22 US H3N2 sequences from 2012 (collected between Jan 1 and Jan 23) and none are listed as low reactors (although most have no test result listed).  However, several have acquired H3N2v polymorphisms (via recombination). 

The most dramatic example is A/South Carolina/01/2012, which was collected on Jan 4.  Most of the newly acquired polymorphisms in the HA and MP sequences trace back to H3N2v, indicating H3N2v is widespread in the United States, although the last reported cases were from the West Virginia cluster in December, 2011.

Release of sequences from the 88 H3N2 low reactors would be useful.

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