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CDC Denies Sustained trH3N2 Transmission
Recombinomics Commentary 17:45
September 14, 2011

Likely transmission of swine-origin influenza virus from close contact with an infected person has been observed in investigations of human infections with swine-origin influenza A virus, but has not resulted in sustained human-to-human transmission.

The above comment is from the updated CDC webpage entitled “Reported Human Infections with Swine-Origin Influenza Viruses (SOIVs) in the United States since 2005”, and is an improvement over the early 2011 update which claimed that no human transmission had been laboratory confirmed.  In the week 21 MMWR the CDC acknowledged that the daughter of the index case of the trH3N2 cluster in Minnesota had been serologically confirmed to have been trH3N2 infected and the daughter had no reported contact with swine and in the week 30 MMWR that case was added to the number of trH3N2 cases reported in 2011 (although the infection was in 2010).

However, the above claim of no sustained human-to-human transmission is contradicted by the sequence data of 2010 isolates (from Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota) as well as the four 2011 isolates from Indiana and Pennsylvania.  The H3 of all of the above are closely related, and the four 2011 isolates have the same constellation of genes, including the M gene from pandemic H1N1 which is critical for sustained human transmission.  Moreover, the sequences of three of the four isolates are virtually identical, and no swine contact has been claimed for any of those cases.

The CDC claim of no sustained transmission is solely based on negative data, which is highly suspect since no positive data has been presented for the source of these infections.  The only real connection between these cases is the fact that they have been trH3N2 tested and trH3N2 has been confirmed.

The most detail made public this far is for the Indiana case (2M), who had no swine contact, but did have contact with a caretaker who had contact with swine.  However, neither the caretaker nor the swine had flu symptoms, and no trH3N2 has been identified, other than the case.  Thus, the inability of the CDC to identify a source of the trH3N2 for a case with no swine contact invalidates any claim of no sustained transmission, which also applies to the two Washington County residents who have no known contact with swine and no trH3N2 has been linked to the fair, other than the three tested and confirmed cases.

Thus, the CDC has not provided any scientific basis for its claim of no sustained transmission, which is strongly supported by the identities of the trH3N2 isolated from the Indiana and Pennsylvania cases with no known swine contact.

The CDC should modify its claim of no sustained trH3N2 transmission, which has no scientific or factual basis.

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