The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and Indiana Board of Animal Health (BOAH) are urging Hoosiers to take steps to prevent illness while visiting events where pigs are exhibited following confirmation of a case of influenza in a resident with exposure to pigs.
This is the first human case of H3N2 variant influenza reported in Indiana since 2013 and the first human case in the U.S. this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which confirmed the test results Friday.
H3N2 variant influenza is most commonly associated with contact with pigs. The Indiana resident became ill after being exposed to pigs during a county fair that has since ended. The resident is recovering.
Influenza viruses can be directly transmitted from pigs to people and from people to pigs. Human infections are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to infected pigs, such as in barns and livestock exhibits at fairs. Influenza viruses are not transmitted by eating pork and pork products. According to the CDC, more than 400 cases of H3N2 variant influenza have been identified in people nationwide since 2011. More than one-third of those cases have occurred in Indiana.
“Seeing animals is one of the highlights of going to the fair, but it’s important to remember that animals can carry diseases that can make people sick,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, MD, FACOG. “Washing your hands after attending animal exhibits and practicing good food hygiene can help prevent illness and ensure that the fair and other events remain a healthy and fun experience.”