CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ (DHHR) Bureau for Public Health (BPH) and the Jackson County Health Department are investigating several reports of individuals who have developed influenza-like illness after working closely with swine exhibiting respiratory symptoms and fever at the Jackson County Fair.
DHHR’s Office of Laboratory Services returned presumptive positive influenza A H3N2v on at least one human specimen on Tuesday, August 2. The sample has been forwarded to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation.
“If experiencing symptoms such as fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough or congestion, it is extremely important to let your healthcare provider know if you or your loved one has visited a recent outdoor event with animal livestock, such as pigs, and to be appropriately evaluated,” said Dr. Ayne Amjad, DHHR’s State Health Officer and BPH Commissioner. “These symptoms usually show up 1-3 days after exposure.”
Swine influenza viruses may circulate in pig populations throughout the year and do not usually infect humans. Although influenza viruses can spread between pigs and humans in rare situations, this usually occurs after having contact with a pig in a public setting or by directly working with infected pigs. The same influenza antiviral drugs used to treat seasonal influenza can also be used for treatment of swine flu infection in humans.
State residents are encouraged to take routine precautions when visiting animal exhibits, including washing hands with soap and water before and after exposure to animals, to not take personal items, food or drinks into swine barns or areas with animals, to avoid close contact with animals that are ill, and to avoid contact with pigs if experiencing influenza-like symptoms.
Resources and additional information:
Swine Influenza (Influenza in Swine) | CDC
Information for Fair Organizers and People Exhibiting Pigs | CDC
Information for Pork Producers and People Who Work With or Raise Pigs | CDC