Number of Cases of New Pennsylvania Swine Flu Strain Rise to Four

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The number of cases of a new strain of swine flu in Pennsylvania have risen to four, after two new cases were confirmed Monday by Pennsylvania officials.

Both cases are connected to an agricultural fair in southwestern Pennsylvania. The particular strain hasn't been seen before, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

On Friday, the CDC reported two infections of the "novel influenza A virus." One of those was an Indiana boy and the other was a Pennsylvania girl who had been to the Washington County Fair the week of Aug. 13-20. The two newest cases also attended the same fair.

Thus far, all of those who have been taken ill were children. Those who were reported ill last Friday have already fully recovered. A press release from the Pennsylvania Department of Health indicated that the two newly diagnosed cases were recovering as well.

According to Tom Skinner, a CDC spokesman, in the case of this new strain of swine flu, the CDC typically sees a few cases a year of (an influenza A virus), usually as result of contact with swine. However, "what's new is that it has picked up a gene from the H1N1 pandemic strain."

The two children in the earliest reported cases, from last Friday, had received flu vaccines in September 2010. Those would have protected against H1N1, but given the rapid mutation of flu virus, wouldn't protect against the new strain.

The Pennsylvania departments of health and agriculture and the CDC are investigating the cases. Of note, said Skinner, is that "There's no evidence of sustained transmission from human to human."

The Pennsylvania Department of Health's press release warns that "anyone who attended the Washington County Fair and has flu-like symptoms should contact their local health care provider or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH. Symptoms would be similar to that of seasonal influenza, and would include fever, lethargy (extreme tiredness), lack of appetite and coughing. Other influenza symptoms may include a runny nose, sore throat, eye irritation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. "

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