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Three Children Infected With Rare Flu Strain

Cases of a novel flu virus have been identified in three children with ties to the Washington County Fair according to the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Agriculture. The first child to become ill has fully recovered while the other two are still healing. The state has not released any information about the three.

An investigation by Departments of Health and Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found all of the children had attended the Washington County Fair the week of August 13th. Brandi Hunter-Davenport, spokesperson for the Department of Health, said strains of the flu change yearly, but this strain is special. "This particular, novel Influenza A virus is one that can occur in just about anyone," said Hunter-Davenport. "And this particular virus is unique to previous H3N2 human infections in how it also contains a genetic component of the 2009 H1N1 virus."

The Department of Health is urging anyone who attended the fair and is experiencing flu like symptoms to contact their local health care provider. Symptoms would include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. The joint investigation has not yet found how the illness was transmitted, but no other cases have been reported. Hunter-Davenport said they are conducting increased surveillance and tracking in southwestern Pennsylvania and are hoping to get out ahead of this. "The sooner we get in to find out what is taking place with individuals, the better we are off understanding what has happened here," said Hunter-Davenport. "And if in fact it has been transmitted, or if this is just a sporadic case of seasonal flu taking place."