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Kids Have Little Protection from New Flu Virus

Children younger than 10 likely will be the most susceptible if a variant of the influenza A (H3N2) virus -- dubbed A (H3N2)v -- develops the ability to transmit easily among humans, researchers found.

Since August 2011, there have been 12 cases of infection with the variant -- which contains genes from avian, swine, and human flu viruses, Alicia Branch, PhD, of the CDC's influenza division, and colleagues reported in the April 13 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Serological studies found that children younger than 10 had little to no cross-reactive antibody to the new virus, which is consistent with the fact that all but one of the recent cases occurred in that age group.

"Although unlikely to protect against A (H3N2)v in this susceptible age group, receipt of seasonal influenza vaccine continues to be recommended to protect against circulating human influenza viruses for all age groups and might provide some protection against A (H3N2)v infection in the adult population," the authors wrote.

They noted that a vaccine virus specific for the variant has been developed and could be used to produce vaccine in the case of widespread transmission.
 
 

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