Mike Coston is the Owner/Editor of Avian Flu Diary
With county and state fair season underway, and 4 H3N2v Cases Reported (2 in Michigan, 2 in Ohio) in the past 10 days, the CDC and local health departments are warning people to be extra careful around swine exhibits this summer.
In addition to the Muskegon and Clark county reports, we have word of infected swine at two other county fairs in Michigan. No human infections have been reported, but local officials are nonetheless on the alert.
First, this report from WSJM news, on pigs in Cass county.
August 15, 2016 Local Stories
There are no reported human illnesses, but the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department says 20 pigs at the Cass County Fair last week were infected with the H3N2 strain of the swine flu. The health department is working with Cass County Michigan State University Extension 4H, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to monitor the situation. Human infection with swine flu is most likely to happen when people are in close proximity to the infected animals, such as in pig barns and livestock exhibits housing pigs at fairs. The H3N2 strain is considered relatively mild for people.
The Van Buren/Cass County Health Department has issued H3N2v Influenza Guidance for Healthcare Providers, along with a statement on the Cass county fair.
August 12, 2016
For Immediate Release
Swine Influenza at Michigan County fairs: BACKGROUND
Muskegon County Fair: On July 29, 2016, one hog tested positive for swine influenza.
Samples were sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa on August 3, 2016, and it confirmed positive for influenza H3N2.
Ingham County Fair: on Friday, August 5, 2016, one hog tested positive for swine influenza. Samples were sent to USDA’s NVSL as well for confirmation and typing; results are pending.
Both the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and area local health departments have been contacted and are managing the situation from the perspective of human health.
Human infection with flu viruses from pigs are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to infected pigs, such as in pig barns and livestock exhibits housing pigs at fairs.
Swine influenza viruses are classified by the types and further classified by strains, like people, pigs are susceptible to many strains of flu.
Swine Influenza Cass County Fair
- Twenty pigs exhibited at the Cass County fair were tested for influenza and twenty were positive for influenza. The strain is reported as H3N2.
- No ill human contacts have been reported to the Health Department
- The Van Buren/Cass District Health Department is working with Cass County Michigan state University Extension 4H and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) monitor the situation and work with fair officials to respond to the situation and notify exhibitors.
Meanwhile, we have a pair of follow up reports on the Ingham County fair pig mentioned above, from WILX news in Lansing/Jackson Michigan.
August 8th 10:00AM — We now know the type of influenza strain found in a pig at the Ingham County Fair in Mason. The Department of Agriculture confirms the pig has tested positive for Influenza A (H3N2).
The pig died suddenly on August 4 at the fairgrounds but the Department of Agriculture is unsure if the pig died from swine flu.
By the next day multiple animal exhibit’s were closed at the Ingham County Fairgrounds as a precautionary measure.
MASON, Mich (WILX) – Two pigs at two separate county fairs have tested positive for the same strain of swine flu, H3N2.
“We want to make sure we identify anyone who potentially does get sick,” said Vail.
To protect the community, the health department is asking everyone who went to the fair in Mason to monitor themselves until August 16. The monitoring date is the 16th because it is 10 days after the fair ended.
As noted, the monitoring period for those attending the Ingham county fair is about up, but there are plenty of fair dates ahead, and so people need to be aware of the risks, and take the common sense precautions recommended by the CDC.
Pigs can be infected with their own influenza viruses (called swine influenza) that are usually different from human flu viruses.
While rare, influenza can spread from pigs to people and from people to pigs. When people get swine flu viruses, it’s usually after contact with pigs. This has happened in different settings, including fairs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is concerned about a flu virus that has been found in U.S. pigs and that has infected people too. This virus – called H3N2v – may spread more easily from pigs to humans than is usual for swine flu viruses.
CDC Recommendations For People with High Risk Factors:
- Anyone who is at high risk of serious flu complications planning to attend a fair where pigs will be present should avoid pigs and swine barns at the fair.
- People who are at high risk of serious flu complications include children younger than 5 years, people 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term health conditions (like asthma and other lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems, and neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions).
CDC Recommendations for People Not at High Risk:
- Don’t take food or drink into pig areas; don’t eat, drink or put anything in your mouth in pig areas.
- Don’t take toys, pacifiers, cups, baby bottles, strollers, or similar items into pig areas.
- Avoid close contact with pigs that look or act ill.
- Take protective measures if you must come in contact with pigs that are known or suspected to be sick. This includes minimizing contact with pigs and wearing personal protective equipment like protective clothing and gloves and masks that cover your mouth and nose when contact is required.
- 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.
- To further reduce the risk of infection, minimize contact with pigs in the pig barn and arenas.
- Watch your pig (if you have one) for illness. Call a veterinarian if you suspect illness.
- Avoid contact with pigs if you have flu-like symptoms. Wait 7 days after your illness started or until you have been without fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, whichever is longer. If you must have contact with pigs while you are sick, take the protective actions listed above.
People with high risk factors who develop flu symptoms should call a health care provider. Tell them about your high risk factor and any exposure to pigs or swine barns you’ve had recently. Seasonal flu vaccine will not protect against H3N2v, but prescription influenza antiviral drugs can treat H3N2v illness in people.