This Year's First Swine Flu Cases in Humans Linked to Fairs

No person-to-person transmission has been detected
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2023 1:30 AM CDT
This Year's First Swine Flu Cases in Humans Linked to Fairs
Emmalynn Shroyer, 8, of Decatur, Mich., helps her pig Brownie stay cool Wednesday, July 19, 2023, at the Van Buren Youth Fair in Lawrence, Mich.   (Don Campbell/The Herald-Palladium via AP)

This year's first two cases of swine flu in humans have both been linked to county fairs in Michigan. In the first case, a child whose age was not given developed the illness within 10 days of having been exposed to pigs at the Oakland County Fair, where the child was an exhibitor. The child, who was given antiviral drugs for influenza and was not hospitalized, has recovered, the Detroit Free Press reports. The pigs in the fair's swine barn started displaying symptoms of the virus July 14, a week after the fair opened, and the barn was closed to the public that night. The pigs tested positive for influenza. In the second case, a person who attended the Tuscola County Fair developed symptoms afterward; that person also was not hospitalized and is recovering. Most cases of swine flu are linked to pig exhibits at fairs, CNN reports, though in 2009 one strain caused a pandemic.

In both cases, no human-to-human transmission of the virus has been detected. Two different strains were involved, A(H3)v for the first case and A H1N1v for the second case. Swine flu involves strains of influenza that differ from human strains of the virus (though symptoms are similar to those associated with human influenza), but pigs can sometimes transmit the virus to people when they cough or sneeze. Since transmission occurs when respiratory droplets land in people's noses or mouths, the CDC recommends refraining from eating or drinking when in an area with pigs, avoiding pigs that appear sick, and washing hands before and after contact with pigs (and definitely before touching your face after being around pigs). People cannot get swine flu from proper handling of pork products or by eating pork products that have been properly cooked. (More swine flu stories.)

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