Updated September 7, 2012
Photo courtesy of CDC
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported that since August 2011, 309 cases of H3N2v influenza infection of people have been reported in13 states.
To date, the states affected (and the number of cases reported in each
state) are Hawaii (1); Illinois (4); Indiana (140); Iowa (3); Maine (2); Maryland (12); Michigan (5); Minnesota (2); Ohio (102); Pennsylvania (14); Utah (1); West Virginia (5); and Wisconsin (18). No deaths have been reported. For the cases reported in 2011, there was limited human-to-human transmission, but in all of the 2012 cases for which contact information was present, people reported contact with swine and/or attendance at a fair at which swine were present. According to a recent report from the CDC, no evidence of sustained community spread of H3N2v has been detected.
This shouldn't prevent you from attending fairs with animal exhibits, but it does mean that you should take precautions to protect yourself and your family. These precautions should be taken any time you are in contact with animal exhibits, regardless of whether or not you're in an area currently affected by this outbreak. And these precautions are recommended for any animal exhibit, but are particularly important when visiting swine (pig) exhibits.
- If you are pregnant; immunocompromised (e.g. by chemotherapy or other immunosuppressive drugs, cancer, HIV/AIDS, or other diseases that reduce your immune system's ability to fight off disease); already ill from another disease; have health conditions that increase your risk of complications from the flu (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease); or elderly, you should consider viewing the exhibits (and particularly swine exhibits) from farther away or avoiding them altogether. If you choose to visit animal exhibits, you should take extra precautions to protect yourself. Consult with your healthcare provider about the recommended precautions.
- Do not allow very young children to come in contact with swine. Prevent your children from touching their mouths or faces while in the exhibit and until their hands have been thoroughly washed.
- Never take toys, pacifiers, spill-proof cups, baby bottles, strollers or similar items into pig areas.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before and after handling animals.
- While in the animal exhibit area, do not put your mouth or face in contact with any animals. Avoid touching your mouth and face during or after handling animals unless you have thoroughly washed your hands.
- Avoid close contact with animals that look or act ill. These animals may have runny eyes or noses; be coughing or sneezing; be acting lethargic; and/or may be separating themselves from other animals in the pen.
- Do not eat or drink in the animal exhibit.
- Do not take food or drinks into the animal exhibit.
- After leaving an animal exhibit area, wash your hands thoroughly before eating, drinking or putting anything in your mouth.
- Avoid contact with pigs if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms. Avoid contact for 7 days after symptoms begin or until you have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, whichever is longer.
To date, people infected with H3N2v influenza have shown signs indistinguishable from seasonal flu: fever, coughing, sneezing, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, body aches, headache and fatigue. If you are showing any of these signs of illness, particularly after visiting an animal exhibit, notify your healthcare provider.
At this time, we are not aware of any pets infected or sickened by the H3N2v influenza. However, the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus was transmitted to a smalll number of pets by their ill owners and it is best to consider this a possibility with this virus until proven otherwise.
This influenza is not transmissible to people or pets through properly handled and prepared (cooked) pork and pork products.
National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV)