Wis. Health Officials Caution Fair Goers of Exposure to Swine Flu

By KBJR News 1

Wis. Health Officials Caution Fair Goers of Exposure to Swine Flu

August 30, 2012 Updated Aug 30, 2012 at 7:32 PM CDT

Madison, WI (Northland's NewsCenter) --- With confirmed cases of the variant H3N2 influenza virus rising to 14 in Wisconsin, health officials are asking fair goers to use caution when entering pig farms.

All cases that have been reported in the state are individuals who were exposed to or in close proximity to pigs at either the Wisconsin State Fair or various county fairs across the state.

The majority of cases are children, with an average age of 10-years-old.

All of the individuals who were infected with the virus have recovered or are recovering from their illnesses. One child has hospitalized briefly.

Due to the strong correlation between these cases and exposure to swine exhibits, health officials urge caution for people attending county fairs.

“While this strain of influenza appears to cause an illness similar to seasonal strains, keep in mind that any influenza can cause very severe illness in certain people,” said Dr. Henry Anderson, State Health Officer. “Because H3N2v infections have been associated with four Wisconsin fairs already, we are recommending that older adults, pregnant women, young children, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions should avoid entering swine barns at fairs this season.”

Symptoms of H3N2v include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people also have reported runny nose, sore throat, eye irritation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Most cases have resolved without treatment.

Contact your health care provider if you are experiencing flu symptoms and let them know if you have had direct contact with or been in close proximity to swine.

The Wisconsin Division of Public Health and the CDC recommend these precautions to avoid infection:

• Wash your hands often with soap and running water before and after exposure to pigs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Never eat, drink or put things in your mouth in areas where there are pigs, and don’t take food or drink into these areas.
• Avoid close contact with pigs that look or act ill.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns