|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2012
CONTACT: Stephanie Smiley, (608)
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES REPORTS FIRST HUMAN CASES OF H3N2v INFLUENZA
MADISON—State and local health officials
report the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene confirmed two cases of
the variant H3N2 (H3N2v) influenza virus in Wisconsin. Test results
indicate one of the infections occurred in an adult from southeastern
Wisconsin who worked at the Wisconsin State Fair. The individual did not
report direct contact with swine. A second H3N2v infection has been
detected in an adolescent who was a swine exhibitor at the Wisconsin
State Fair and lives in western Wisconsin. The individuals are
recovering from their illness and have not been hospitalized.
Since July 2012, the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported more than 150 cases of
human infections with H3N2v influenza in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois,
Hawaii, and Michigan. These human infections have all occurred in
persons exposed to, or in proximity to, pigs.
When an influenza virus that normally
circulates in swine is detected in a person, it is called a variant
influenza virus. Influenza viruses such as H3N2 and its variants are not
unusual in swine and can be directly transmitted from swine to people
and from people to swine. When humans are in close proximity to live
infected swine, such as in barns and livestock exhibits at fairs,
movement of these viruses can occur back and forth between humans and
animals. Influenza has not been shown to be transmitted by eating
properly handled and prepared pork or other products derived from pigs.
Although no human-to-human transmission of H3N2v has been documented
this year, it is possible that such spread may be shown in the future.
“We encourage people to enjoy all
their local fairs have to offer this summer, but to take precautions to
reduce the chances of getting H3N2v influenza,” said Dr. Henry Anderson,
State Health Officer. “As with all influenza viruses, certain
individuals can become very ill. Older adults, pregnant women, young
children, and people with weakened immune systems should be extra
careful and avoid exposure to swine barns this season.”
Case investigations have indicated
that the illnesses resulting from H3N2v infection have been similar to
seasonal influenza. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite
and coughing. Some people also have reported runny nose, sore throat,
eye irritation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Most cases have resolved
on their own and have not required treatment. Contact your health care
provider if you are experiencing flu symptoms and inform the doctor if
you have had contact with swine.
The Wisconsin Division of Public
Health is working closely with the State Laboratory of Hygiene and local
health departments to detect additional cases. To prevent the spread of
H3N2v, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer
Protection is working with fair veterinarians and swine exhibitors. If
you have animals, particularly swine, watch them for signs of illness,
and call a veterinarian if you suspect they might be sick.
There is no reason to avoid fairs
entirely, but to reduce the spread of influenza viruses between pigs and
people, CDC recommends these precautions:
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.
eat, drink or put things in your mouth in pig areas, and don’t take
food or drink into pig areas.
take toys, pacifiers, spill-proof cups, baby bottles, strollers or
similar items into pig areas.
close contact with pigs that look or act ill.
Children younger than 5 years, people 65 years and older, pregnant
women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions (like
asthma, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems, and
neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions) are at high risk from
serious complications if they get influenza. These people should
consider avoiding exposure to pigs and swine barns this fair season,
especially if sick pigs have been identified.
For more information about the H3N2v
influenza virus and current investigation, visit CDC’s website:
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February 12, 2014