3 Flu Cases Linked to Swine Exposure at State Fair
Three people are believed to have developed a strain of flu known as H1N2v after exhibiting pigs or spending time in the swine barn at the Minnesota State Fair, state health department officials said Friday.
One of the three cases has been confirmed by the CDC, according to a Minnesota Department of Health news release. Test results for the other two are pending.
Officials say the strain is different from H3N2v that prompted stepped up surveillance and prevention efforts across the nation after causing 289 reported cases of illness and one death since the beginning of the year.
The illness was confirmed in a teenage girl who was exhibiting pigs at the fair and became ill on Aug. 26, officials say. The other two cases occurred in an elementary-school-aged boy who became ill on Aug. 27 after spending all day in the swine barn on Aug. 24, and a woman in her late 70s who became ill on Aug. 26 after spending a prolonged period of time in the swine barn and at the swine show in the Exhibit Hall on Aug. 24.
Both the boy and the older woman had underlying health conditions, and were treated with antiviral drugs, according to officials. The woman was hospitalized, but has been released. All three patients have recovered or are recovering.
Health department officials say they are not aware of any additional cases of people with the illness caused by H1N2v, and they do not anticipate changing their current public health recommendations regarding exposure to pigs.
People at high risk for severe influenza are advised to avoid swine contact at exhibitions, fairs, live markets and other venues, including the swine barn at the State Fair. High risk individuals include children under five years of age, pregnant women, people 65 years of age or older and those with chronic medical conditions. It's also recommended that swine barn visitors wash their hands when they leave.
Fair officials have been monitoring swine for possible symptoms of illness, so they can be tested. Two pigs at the swine exhibit were found to be infected with the same H1N2 virus earlier this week, and were both isolated from contact with other pigs. Infection with H1N2 is not considered unusual in pigs.