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Withheld Maryland Death Cluster Data Raises H3N2v Concerns
Recombinomics Commentary 15:00
March 8, 2012

Testing by the DHMH Laboratories Administration has confirmed that two of the cases had Influenza H3, a strain of Influenza A that has been circulating this season.

The above comment from the DHMH press release updating the Calvert County, Maryland death cluster is carefully worded and does not say that the H3 is seasonal H3N2, and may in fact be H3 from H3N2v.  The state labs can only do PCR testing, which can produce a pattern (seasonal H3 and H1N1pdm NP positive) that is suggestive of H3N2v, but confirmation requires sequencing (which is done by the CDC).
Although there have not been any reported H3N2v cases in 2012, the second case in Indiana, the two cases in Maine, the three cases in Iowa, and the two cases in West Virginia were all from H3N2v circulating this season (and thus H3N2v has an H3 that has been circulating this season).

Recombinomics requested (via phone discussions and detailed e-mails sent yesterday morning) a clarification on PCR and/or sequencing result, and neither DHMH nor the CDC has responded at this time. 

This failure to respond has increased concerns that the influenza H3 cited above is in fact H3 from H3N2v.

A response to the above written requests, as well as release of sequence data from isolates from the above cluster, would be useful.

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