The Indiana State Department of Health is urging residents to take precautions when they visit county and 4-H fairs after four people contracted the H3N2 virus or swine flu, possibly after visiting the Grant County Agricultural Fair which ran from June 16 to 22. A Grant County Health Department official told NewsChannel 15 that at least one of the four was an animal handler. The Indiana State Department of Health and the Grant County Health Department continue to investigate these cases. Human infections with H3N2 have most commonly occurred after close proximity to live infected pigs, such as working with them in barns and livestock exhibits at fairs. Influenza viruses are not transmitted by eating pork and pork products.
According to the State Board of Animal Health, thirteen pigs at the fair tested positive for H3N2. It is not uncommon for pigs to be infected with swine influenza viruses but not show any signs of illness. If ill with influenza they typically recover. State Health Commissioner William VanNess urges people who plan on attending fairs to wash their hands frequently and avoid taking food into areas where animals are kept.
Symptoms of variant influenza A include: fever, cough, sore throat, chills, headache and muscle aches. Diarrhea and nausea may occur in children. Symptoms can begin approximately one to four days after being exposed to the illness and last from two to seven days. As several county fairs will open in the next few weeks, State health officials are increasing surveillance for influenza-like illness.