CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) laboratory has confirmed one case of what is known as the H3N2v influenza virus, which has now been reported in three states this year –Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. IDPH is working with local health officials to alert the public on ways to reduce the risk of transmission of this virus. The confirmed case is a Boone County child with mild symptoms who had contact with swine while helping an exhibitor at the DuPage County Fair which was held in late July.
H3N2v is a variant form of influenza A, which was first detected in swine in 2011 and the first human cases were reported in 2012, including four cases in Illinois. The CDC is currently reporting more than a dozen cases in the U.S. this year. All infections in 2013 have occurred in people following contact with swine, and cases of the virus being transmitted from person to person are rare. So far, the severity of illnesses associated with this virus in people has been similar to the severity of illnesses associated with seasonal flu virus infections.
“The H3N2v virus is relatively new, but the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Illinois Department of Agriculture and our federal partners are monitoring this situation closely,” said IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “We want you to enjoy your time at the state or county fair, so one key thing to do to stay healthy is to wash your hands frequently, especially if you are around swine.”
Tips to avoid influenza include:
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water before and after exposure to animals.
• Do not take food or drinks into animal areas; do not eat, drink or put anything in your mouth while visiting animal areas.
• Do not take toys, pacifiers, cups, baby bottles, strollers or similar items into animal areas.
• Avoid close contact with animals, especially swine.
• Avoid contact with animals if you have influenza-like symptoms.
• Use caution when deciding to visit an animal area if you have an underlying health condition or if persons are younger than 5 years or older than 65 years or pregnant.
Influenza is contracted through droplets when an infected person or animal coughs or sneezes. Those droplets can either be inhaled or can be on a surface you touch with your hand, and then touch your mouth or nose.
Influenza symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache and fatigue. Illness can last a week or two. Certain people have a higher risk of serious infection from influenza including the very young, elderly, pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems and those with asthma, diabetes and heart disease. If you have, or do come into contact with swine and are experiencing influenza symptoms, contact your health care provider.