08-08-2012 (Dayton, OH) -
The Ohio Department of Health announced recently that the Center for Disease Control has confirmed 14 human cases of H3N2v, commonly known as swine flu, and is reminding citizens to take caution around animals. This is especially important during county fair season where people are exposed to animals.
Type A Influenza, including H3N2v, commonly infects swine, according to the Ohio Department of Health. The viruses that are passed between swine are genetically very different than human flu viruses (such as the seasonal flu) and seldom infect humans. However, these infections can occur and influenza can be passed between swine and humans.
These infections have been most likely to occur when people are in direct contact with infected swine, such as in swine barns and livestock exhibits housing swine at fairs. H3N2v is thought to spread in the same way as the seasonal flu virus, which is mainly through coughing or sneezing by people who are infected. People also may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
The Ohio Department of Health reminds people that the virus has not been shown to be passed through eating properly cooked pork.
The symptoms of H3N2v are similar to those of the seasonal flu. These include fever, tiredness, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people also have reported runny nose, sore throat, eye irritation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
The best way to protect against seasonal influenza is by getting a flu vaccine. "All persons older than 6 months of age should receive annual influenza vaccination. It is especially important to vaccinate children with medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and immunologic abnormalities as well as parents and grandparents help prevent them from passing the flu to their children," says Sherman Alter, MD, director of infectious disease at Dayton Children’s. Research into development of a vaccine to prevent H3N2v is ongoing.
Other tips to prevent the spread of H3N2v influenza
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and running water before and after exposure to animals.
• Never eat, drink or put things in your mouth in animal areas, and don’t take food or drink into animal areas.
• Young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older and people with weakened immune systems should be extra careful around animals.
• If you have animals – including swine – watch them for signs of illness and call a veterinarian if you suspect they might be sick.
• Avoid close contact with animals that look or act ill, when possible.
• Avoid contact with swine if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms.
High risk individuals
• Persons who are at high risk for influenza complications(e.g., underlying chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or neurological conditions, or who are pregnant or younger than 5 years, older than 65 years of age or have weakened immune systems) should consider avoiding exposure to pigs and swine barns this summer, especially if ill pigs have been identified.
• Persons engaging in activities that may involve swine contact, such as attending agricultural events or exhibiting swine, should wash their hands frequently with soap and running water before and after exposure to animals; avoid eating or drinking in animal areas; and avoid close contact with animals that look or act ill.
When to call the doctor
If you suspect you or your child might have been infected with swine flu, the Ohio Department of Health recommends that you inform your primary care physician of the exposure. People who are at risk for influenza complications and who are experiencing flu-like symptoms should see their primary care physician.
For more information visit the Ohio Department of Health’s H3N2v website at http://www.odh.ohio.gov/features/odhfeatures/H3N2v%20influenza/H3N2v%20Influenza.aspx.
About Dayton Children’s
The Children's Medical Center of Dayton is a not-for-profit 155-bed regional pediatric referral center and is the only facility in the region devoted to the health, safety and information needs of children and their families. As a regional referral center, Dayton Children's serves a 20-county region that includes Ohio and eastern Indiana. Dayton Children's affiliation with Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicineand accreditation by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizationsensures patients the finest pediatric care available. Dayton Children's staff of over 350 physicians and residents includes primary care pediatricians as well as subspecialists in over 35 areas of pediatric medicine. Working in collaboration with the medical staff is a team of more than 1,300 employees and volunteers who share a commitment to quality care.
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