The Michigan departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture and Rural Development, along with the Public Health Muskegon County (PHMC) announced Friday they have identified two cases of influenza A H3N2 variant (H3N2v) in Muskegon county residents who were swine exhibitors at the Muskegon County Fair. The fair took place July 25-30, 2016. A sick pig from the fair tested positive for influenza A H3N2 at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa.
PHMC is reaching out to swine exhibitors who attended the Muskegon County Fair to identify any additional illnesses. PHMC has already alerted providers in their jurisdiction to watch for patients presenting with respiratory symptoms who report exposure to swine or visited the swine barn and the fair.
Symptoms of H3N2v infection in people are similar to those of seasonal flu viruses and can include fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough and runny nose, and possibly other symptoms, such as body aches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Infections with influenza viruses (including variant viruses like H3N2v) can sometimes cause severe disease, even in healthy people. This can include complications, such as pneumonia, which may require hospitalization, and sometimes death. People who are at high risk of developing complications if they get influenza include children younger than five years of age, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems, and neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions.
The incubation period (the time it takes from exposure to illness) for this influenza is similar to seasonal influenza, up to 10 days, and most commonly two days. Currently, there is no vaccine for H3N2v and the seasonal flu vaccine will not protect against H3N2v; however, antiviral drugs, such as oseltamivir and zanamivir, are effective in treating H3N2v virus infections. Early treatment works best and may be especially important for people with a high risk condition.
- Below are some steps that you can take to protect yourself and prevent the spread of any illness:
- Avoid close contact with sick people
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub
- Do not eat or drink in livestock barns or show rings
- Don’t take toys, pacifiers, cups, baby bottles, strollers, or similar items into pig areas
- Anyone who is at high risk of serious flu complications and planning to attend a fair should avoid pigs and swine barns
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way
- If you are sick, stay home from work or school until your illness is over
- Avoid contact with pigs if you have flu-like symptoms. Wait seven 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
- Get an annual influenza vaccination