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CDC Silence On trH3N2 Match Is Deafening

Recombinomics Commentary 23:30
April 18, 2011

Initial testing of the specimen indicated a seasonal influenza A (H3N2) virus and the specimen was submitted to CDC as a routine surveillance sample. The delay from onset to detection occurred because attempts to culture the virus were unsuccessful. RT-PCR testing confirmed swine-origin influenza A (H3N2).

No epidemiologic links between this case and any of the other cases of swine-origin H3N2 infection have been identified and the viruses from all seven cases have genetic differences indicating different sources of infection.

There is no evidence of human-to-human transmission with this virus; however, early identification and investigation of all human infections with novel influenza A viruses is critical to evaluate the extent of the outbreak and possible human-to-human transmission.

The above comments are from the week 4 FluView, and as noted, attempts to culture the virus were unsuccessful and no sequence data was presented or described.  Therefore, the CDC was able to claim “no evidence of human-to-human transmission”.  However, yesterday on Sunday, April 17 the CDC deposited the full sequence from this isolate, A/Pennsylvania/40/2010, at GISAID (lacking a trH3N2 designation), and the sequence for all 8 gene segments was virtually identical with one of the seven isolates cited above, A/Wisconsin/12/2010, proviing clear evidence of human-to-human transmission in unreported hosts. 

The sequence was deposited more the seven months after the patient (3F) developed symptoms on September 6, 2010.

Thus, the only real source of “evidence of human-to-human transmission” is the sequence, which matches the isolate collected from a patient in Wisconsin, who developed symptoms two days after the Pennsylvania case, on September 8, 2010.

The silence of the CDC on this match is deafening.
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