Clinton County Health Commissioner Pamela Walker Bauer, MPH, RS, recently confirmed influenza A infections in 11 Ohio residents who had attended the Clinton County Fair in Wilmington, Ohio, and reported exposure to pigs that have tested positive for the virus, according to a local news source.
The news source claims that laboratory testing conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently underway, “to see whether there is a connection to the specific variation of swine flu.”
Fair officials reportedly shuttered up the hog barn on July 13, 2017, after the virus was detected in one of the pigs. The University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy reported that respiratory samples taken from the pigs yielded swine influenza A H3N2. The fair, which was located in the southwestern part of Ohio, between Columbus and Cincinnati, ran from July 8, 2017 to July 15, 2017.
The local news source reports that of the 11 infected patients, 8 are residents of Clinton County, 2 are residents of Warren County, and 1 resides in Highland County. A total of 6 of the patients are males and 5 are females. CIDRAP reported that 10 of the patients are under the age of 18, and 1 patient is an adult between the ages of 50 and 64. Of the 11 cases, none of the individuals needed hospitalization, and all have since recovered from their illness. Furthermore, no human-to-human cases have been detected thus far.
Because of the period of onset to contract swine flu after exposure (about 5 days), Walker Bauer does not expect to see any more potential cases springing up among individuals who visited the hog barn at the fair.
According to another popular news outlet, 280 hogs from the Clinton County Fair were ordered to be slaughtered, with officials tasked to disinfect the barn to prevent the virus from spreading.
In the CDC’s weekly FluReport, officials confirmed that “one additional human infection with a novel influenza A virus was detected in Ohio during week 30.” The individual was infected with influenza A (H1N2) variant virus and had also reported having been directly exposed to swine at a fair prior to illness onset. The authors of the report added that “this is the first human infection with an H1N2 virus identified in 2017.” It was not specified if the case is associated with the outbreak at the Clinton County Fair.
Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans; however, sporadic human infections can occur, according to the CDC. When this happens, these viruses are called “variant viruses.” Infections with H3N2v are most commonly associated with prolonged exposure to hogs in fair settings. A total of 12 cases of H3N2v have been reported this year; 18 cases were reported in 2016.
To prevent the spread of the virus between hogs and humans, the CDC recommends the following:
- Do not take any food or drinks into hog areas, and do not consume anything while in the hog areas
- Avoid taking toys, pacifiers, cups, baby bottles, or anything similar with you into the hog areas
- Avoid contact with any hogs that appear ill
- Wash your hands well with soap and water before and after interacting with hogs
To stay up-to-date on swine flu outbreaks, be sure to check out the Contagion® Outbreak Monitor.