First 2013 case of H3N2 flu detected
LANSING – The Michigan Departments of Community Health, and Agriculture and Rural Development, along with the Berrien County Health Department have identified one case of an H3N2 variant in a child who was a swine exhibitor at the recent Berrien County Youth Fair, which took place August 12-17.
The child, who was not hospitalized, is reported to have contracted H3N2 after exposure to swine at the fair. In addition, a sick pig from the fair tested positive for Influenza A H3N2 at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. MDCH, MDARD, and BCHD are working with the Berrien County Youth Fair board to reach out to swine exhibitors who attended the fair to identify additional illnesses. As a precaution, Michigan public health agencies have conducted an extensive multi-state outreach to meat processing plants that were identified as being in receipt of live swine from the fair. These facilities have been made aware of the potential exposure to their employees, symptoms of illness, and given instruction on seeking care and testing. MDARD has notified managers at eight additional fairs scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, and asked them to reach out to swine exhibitors and the fair veterinarians about the H3N2v case and to use proper safety measures to prevent spreading illnesses.
“Influenza is common to swine and is not a food safety concern,” said Dr. James Averill, MDARD Animal Industry Division Director and State Veterinarian. “Berrien County Youth Fair had hand washing stations, posters, and good biosecurity practices in place, and it’s important that all fairs continue these practices.”
Symptoms of H3N2v infection in people are similar to those of seasonal flu viruses and can include fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough and runny nose, and possibly other symptoms, such as body aches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Infections with influenza viruses (including variant viruses like H3N2v) can sometimes cause severe disease, even in healthy people. This can include complications, such as pneumonia, which may require hospitalization, and sometimes results in death. People who are at high risk of developing complications if they get influenza include children younger than five years of age.