Taipei, Aug. 27 (CNA) Taiwan should closely monitor a new swine flu virus that is known to be transmissible from pigs to humans after several such cases emerged in the United States recently, a professor of epidemiology said Monday.
A total of 153 cases of the H3N2 variant (H3N2v) virus were reported in the United States between July 12 and Aug. 9, said King Chwan-Chuen, a professor with National Taiwan University's Institute of Epidemiology, citing statistics from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Prior to the outbreak, four people were detected to be carrying the virus after attending an agricultural fair in Indiana, where they were exposed to pigs, she said.
Found in pigs in 2010 and first detected in humans in July 2011, H3N2v appears to be more transmissible from pigs to people than other variant influenza viruses, according to CDC's website.
King said it is not yet known whether the disease is transmissible from person to person, and U.S. authorities are still researching an H3N2v vaccine.
H3N2v is transmitted mainly through respiratory and direct contact, she said.
The H1N1 virus, which spread across the globe in two months in 2009 and sparked confusion and panic, was also a known swine flu virus, she said.
H3N2v has not yet been detected in Taiwan, King said, but she urged the government to monitor the situation closely.
She also advised pig and poultry farmers to wear facial masks and to change their cloths and shoes after being exposed to the farm animals.
(By Chen Ching-fang and Ann Chen)