ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A New Flu Killer: A Revamped Cousin of 2009's Flu Pandemic

Updated on September 12, 2012

An Old Enemy Reinvented: The H3N2 variant

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is yet another swine-related influenza virus affecting the United States and it has hospitalized 5% of its victims, hospitalized 16 people, and has claimed one death since July of 2012. This virus is called H3N2v (v for variant) and it is the newest evolved virus from the 2009 H1N1 (Swine Flu) Pandemic virus from just a few short years ago. It was first recognized in 2011 and has been a slowly growing outbreak that has affected 297 people so far this year. The CDC is very concerned about the containment of this virus and continues to update new outbreaks on a weekly basis and the link to these updates is provided below.

The H3N2v virus is mainly spread from pigs to humans although there have been limited cases of human-to-human spread, they are not enough to sustain a community spread of the virus. The CDC has recommended that anyone at high risk of flu complications to avoid pigs and swine barns at the fair this year or to avoid going to the fair altogether if at extremely high risk. People included in this high-risk group include children under 5 years, people 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with chronic conditions (such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease, cancer, chemotherapy patients, HIV, neurological conditions, and other immunosuppressed conditions).

Now, what you've all been waiting for... Does the 2012 seasonal flu vaccine cover this new virus? The answer is no. The seasonal flu vaccine provides coverage for Type A influenza H3N2 virus as well as two other viruses listed further in this article, but not the swine H3N2-variant. The CDC is closely monitoring this virus with regular communication with each state and increasing laboratory testing to ensure that the virus is not a risk of becoming a pandemic.

How Do I Know Which Flu I Have? The Symptoms are All the Same

Mild Cases of Flu (Last 3-5 Days)
Moderate-Severe Cases of Flu (in addition to mild signs & symptoms)
Flu Complications
Muscle Aches
High fever
Runny Nose
Sinus infection
Sore throat
Ear infection
Exacerbate asthma attacks in Asthmatics
Exacerbate heart failure in CHF (congestive heart failure) patients
Fatigue (feeling tired)

2012 Outbreaks of H3N2v as of 9/08/2012

The CDC now recommends that all people aged 6 months and older should be vaccinated with the influenza vaccine annually.
The CDC now recommends that all people aged 6 months and older should be vaccinated with the influenza vaccine annually. | Source

Who Creates the Seasonal Flu Vaccine & What am I Protected Against?

Every year, organizations such as the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention), WHO (World Health Organization), and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) come together to share information about the previous year's most prevalent flu viruses and devise a brand new formula of influenza vaccine that provides for the best protection of their citizens. This year the flu vaccine being offered will contain the following three vaccine viruses.

  1. A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus (In layman terms it means: Type A influenza, strain first located in California in 2009, strain identification #7, H1N1 are the antigenic characterization of the viral proteins. The same follows for the following viruses below.
  2. A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus
  3. B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus

There will be four types of vaccines available: A live attenuated nasal spray (FluMist) and three inactivated injection-type vaccines. These injection vaccines are the typical intramuscular vaccine, an intradermal vaccine (Fluzone Intradermal) and a high-dose vaccine (Fluzone High-Dose) for people age 65 years and older. The CDC does not currently recommend one vaccine over the other and the effectiveness of the high-dose vaccine is currently under research that will be available in the years 2014-2015.


Why Should I Get the Vaccine? I Heard You Can Get the Flu from the Vaccine Itself.

According to the CDC, annual flu deaths range from 3,000 to 49,000 people and over 100,000 people in the United States are hospitalized due to flu complications. This year's flu vaccine has been created to protect against the majority of influenza viruses that will affect the majority of the population. However, it is possible to still get the flu despite being vaccinated with the seasonal flu vaccine. An advantage of being vaccinated with the seasonal flu vaccine is that it may provide cross-protection to similar influenza viruses, even if they are not an exact match. The CDC states that one cannot contract the flu from the vaccine because it contains inactivated viruses although side effects may occur which are listed in the table below.

Possible Side Effects of the Flu Vaccine

Mild side effects of the shot
Mild side effects of the nasal spray
Severe side effects that require Immediate Medical Attention
Soreness, redness & swelling at the injection site
Runny nose
Difficulty breathing
Swelling of the face, eyes, lips, and/or tongue
Fainting, typically in adolescents
Muscle aches
Racing heart/heart palpitations
Behavior changes
Fever > 102

Who are at an increased risk of contracting the Flu?

Chronic disease patients
Other Immunosuppressed Individuals
Others at Increased Risk
Pregnant or expecting to be pregnant during the flu season
Those living with people who have high-risk medical conditions
Ages 6 months - 18 years receiving long-term aspirin therapy
Those living with children < 5 years of age
Heart disorders
Nursing home and chronic-care facility patients
Those living with adults aged 50 or older
Kidney disease
Morbidly obese (BMI >39)
Healthcare personnel
Liver disease
Aged 6 months - 4 years
American Indians/Alaskan Natives
Neurological disease
Aged 50 years and older
Blood disorders (Sickle Cell disease)
Patients on chronic steroid treatment
Other metabolic disorders

Who Should Not Receive the Flu Vaccine? The Flu Shot versus Nasal Spray

The following people below should not receive the flu shot
The following people below should not receive the nasal spray vaccine
Severe allergic reaction to eggs (mild reaction to eggs-such as hives- may receive the shot with additional precautions)
Children < 23 months of age
History of severe allergic reaction to previous flu vaccine
Adults 50 years of age or older
History of Guillain-Barre Syndrome after receiving a flu vaccine
Severe allergic reaction to eggs
People currently ill, have a fever, respiratory illness, or mild illness should wait until they're well until receiving vaccine.
Severe reaction to previous flu vaccine
Asthma patients
Children < 5 years old with one or more episodes of wheezing within the past year
Pregnant women
People with seizure disorders, nerve disorders, or weakened immune systems (diabetes, cancer, chemotherapy, HIV patients)
Anyone is close contact with immunocompromised individuals. Examples are those who work in bone marrow transplant units
Children or adolescents on long-term aspirin treatment
History of Guillain-Barre syndrome after receiving the flu vaccine
Anyone moderately or severely ill should wait until they fully recover before receiving a vaccine

Don't know your BMI? You could be at increased risk of the Flu.

Prevention & Staying Healthy

Hopefully this article has helped my readers become a little more educated on the very real risk of seasonal influenza, the importance of vaccination and influenza awareness. Being opposed to vaccination is a personal choice and a little common sense will also help prevent you from becoming ill this season.

  • Wash your hands & wash them often. This is probably the simplest and most important act that can prevent you from becoming ill.
  • If you or a friend is sick with a flu-like illness, the CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (without the use of medicine) to prevent spreading the virus to others.
  • People who care for children younger than six months have the ability to be flu-carriers and should be vaccinated to help protect the ones they care for.

Have you received the 2012 Flu Vaccine?

See results


This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be used for diagnostic purposes or medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider for any concerns or questions.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)