Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ohio: Henry County Fair Closes Pig Barn Over H1N2 Swine Flu

Henry County - Credit Wikipedia


For the third time this summer an Ohio county fair has been forced to close their swine exhibit due to swine flu. On July 14th we saw Clinton Co. Ohio Fair Closes Hog Barn Over Swine H3N2, followed a week later by the closure of the Franklin County Fair exhibit due to H1N1. 
Influenza viruses (primarily swine H1N1, H3N2, and H1N2) circulate commonly in swine herds.
When infected pigs are brought into agricultural exhibits at county fairs, they can share flu viruses with other pigs (with a risk of reassortment) and are placed into a public venue where hundreds, even thousands, of visitors could be potentially exposed. 
When swine influenza viruses jump to humans, they are dubbed swine variant viruses. The CDC describes Swine Variant viruses in their Key Facts FAQ.
Not unexpectedly, by the end of July  the CDC reported 11 H3N2v Swine Flu Cases Reported In Ohio, followed a week later by 1 Additional Swine Variant Report From Ohio - H1N2v, and last Friday by 3 More H3N2v Cases Reported in Ohio.
Cases were reported as mild, and all linked to fair attendance. Since not everyone who gets the flu gets tested, there is a strong likelihood that other cases went undetected.
Yesterday the media reported the closure of the Henry County pig barn after the discovery of swine H1N2 in four pigs. The Henry County Agricultural Society, and Fair websites have not posted any official statements yet, but we have the following report form the ABC affiliate (WTVG) in the region.

Most pigs removed from Henry County Fair after four test positive for swine flu

Posted: Tue 4:47 PM, Aug 15, 2017

Napoleon, Ohio (WTVG) - The swine superintendent for the Henry County agriculture society, John Poulson, confirms at least four pigs have tested positive for swine flu at the Henry County Fair.

The Henry County Health Department says there are no reported cases of people with swine flu.

In an updated news release sent Tuesday, a fair spokesperson describes the illness as a strain of H1N2 influenza.

“On Sunday four hogs began showing symptoms compatible with influenza. On Sunday night, I called the Ohio Department of Agriculture in to test them. Positive results for H1N2 flu were reported at 12:30 Monday,” said Dr. Kate Colliflower. “The barn has been closed and will be fully disinfected following the fair.”
(Continue . . . )

H1N2v has been the least common swine flu virus to jump to humans, with just 10 cases reported since 2005. H3N2v is, by far, the most common (n=387), followed by H1N1v with 20.  
So far, in 2017, 16 swine variant infections have been reported to the CDC.
With state and county fair season continuing over the summer and into fall, it would not be surprising to see additional, scattered reports of swine variant infection. While most cases are mild, the CDC pays close attention whenever a flu virus jumps species. 

CDC Assessment

Sporadic infections and even localized outbreaks among people with variant influenza viruses may occur. All influenza viruses have the capacity to change and it's possible that variant viruses may change such that they infect people easily and spread easily from person-to-person. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to monitor closely for variant influenza virus infections and will report cases of H3N2v and other variant influenza viruses weekly in FluView and on the case count tables on this website

For more information on swine variant viruses, and how to protect yourself when in contact with farm animals, the CDC provides the following guides.

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