The demonstrated link between the emergence of H3N2 variant (H3N2v) influenza A viruses (IAVs) and swine exposure at agricultural fairs has raised concerns about the human health risk posed by IAV-infected swine. Understanding the antigenic profiles of IAVs circulating in pigs at agricultural fairs is critical to developing effective prevention and control strategies. Here, 68 H3N2 IAV isolates recovered from pigs at Ohio fairs (2009 to 2011) were antigenically characterized. These isolates were compared with other H3 IAVs recovered from commercial swine, wild birds, and canines, along with human seasonal and variant H3N2 IAVs. Antigenic cartography demonstrated that H3N2 IAV isolates from Ohio fairs could be divided into two antigenic groups: (i) the 2009 fair isolates and (ii) the 2010 and 2011 fair isolates. These same two antigenic clusters have also been observed in commercial swine populations in recent years. Human H3N2v isolates from 2010 and 2011 are antigenically clustered with swine-origin IAVs from the same time period. The isolates recovered from pigs at fairs did not cross-react with ferret antisera produced against the human seasonal H3N2 IAVs circulating during the past decade, raising the question of the degree of immunity that the human population has to swine-origin H3N2 IAVs. Our results demonstrate that H3N2 IAVs infecting pigs at fairs and H3N2v isolates were antigenically similar to the IAVs circulating in commercial swine, demonstrating that exhibition swine can function as a bridge between commercial swine and the human population.
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