Health officials in Indiana say they have confirmed a case of H3N2 influenza in a person. This is the first case of this variant of “swine flu” in the state in 5 years and the first confirmed human case in the U.S. so far in 2018.
This case, which was confirmed by CDC officials Friday, has prompted the Indiana State Department of Health, or ISDH, and the Indiana Board of Animal Health, or BOAH, to issue statements urging folks to protect themselves as they visit fairs, livestock shows and other events where pigs will be. (Citing patient privacy concerns, doctors have released no information about the patient other than the disclosure that he or she became ill after having contact with pigs at a recent county fair.)
“Seeing animals is one of the highlights of going to the fair, but it’s important to remember that animals can carry diseases that can make people sick,” said Kris Box in ISDH’s press release about the case.
Box, who is State Health Commissioner, cautions fairgoers to wash their hands thoroughly after exposure to livestock. The agency also cautions against eating, drinking or even smoking inside barns and arenas. And parents of young children are advised not to bring along bottles, pacifiers, sippy cups or strollers. (Small children, the elderly and anyone with a compromised immune system should avoid even entering such areas.)
H3N2 variant influenza in humans is, say experts, most often the result of contact with pigs. It is not, however, spread through the consumption of pork or foods made with pork ingredients.
Photo: Mr. Pig by Amauri AM of Unsplash