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‘Swine flu’ detected in pigs at The Great Frederick Fair

Just days following the H3N2v influenza outbreak linked to the pigs at the Charles County Fair, The Maryland Department of Agriculture, Maryland Department of Health and the Frederick County Health Department report investigating 11 cases of influenza in pigs recently exhibited at The Great Frederick Fair. Preliminary tests show that the pigs are infected with influenza A, but it is not yet known if this strain is potentially transmissible to humans.

Image/Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture

All swine at the Frederick County fairgrounds are under a quarantine order from the Department of Agriculture and will not be released until seven days after the last pig shows signs of influenza illness.

It is rare for influenza viruses that normally infect pigs – often called “swine flu” – to spread to people, but it is possible. Most commonly, human infections with swine flu occur in people who have been exposed to infected pigs (e.g., children handling pigs at agricultural fairs or workers in the swine industry). Limited human-to-human spread of swine flu has been detected previously, but no sustained or community spread has been identified.

The symptoms of swine flu in humans are similar to non-swine influenza and can include fever, cough and sore throat. Prescription influenza antiviral drugs can treat swine flu infections in people, especially when started early. Health officials recommend that people with influenza-like illness contact their healthcare provider and inform them if they have had pig contact within the past seven days.

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