Sunday, August 12, 2018

A Second Michigan Fair Shutters Its Pig Barn Over Swine Flu

Map credit - Wikipedia


Two weeks after Pigs At Fowlerville Family Fair Test Positive For Swine Flu - which resulted in at least two human infections (see Michigan DOH: 2 People Test Positive For Influenza After Contact With Infected Swine) - there's news of another pig barn closure in adjacent Shiawassee county.

So far, we've no word of human infection or illness from this latest incident.  Here is the text of the announcement which was posted on the Shiawassee County Fair Facebook page
Shiawassee County Fair
August 10 at 4:09 PM ·

As of 3:45 p.m. on Friday, our swine barn will be closed to all Shiawassee County Fair exhibitors and visitors.

In compliance with recommendations from the State Veterinarian and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), we are quarantining our swine department in response to ONE animal that has tested positive for influenza.

At this time, 4-H Leaders and FFA Advisors are working closely with our Superintendents and Fair Board members to provide a high standard of care for the animals that have been exposed. In order to reduce the at-risk population in the barn, all hogs that are not showing symptoms will be shipped out early.

We would like to thank our animal health team for their constant monitoring of the swine department this year. Their vigilance has allowed us to respond quickly and in a way that will protect the health of all Fair attendees. A full statement with more details will be released when available. For now, please be assured that we are acting in the best interests of ALL fair-goers. All other animal exhibits will remain open to visitors.

Although the public health threats from currently known swine influenza viruses  are believed limited, the concern is that these viruses are constantly evolving, and over time they may gain additional transmissibility and/or virulence.

The CDC's general risk assessment of these swine variant (H1N1v, H1N2v, H3N2v) viruses reads:

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

In an attempt to promote better preventative measures at animal exhibits, last week the CDC released an Infographic On The Spread Of Flu Between Pigs And People.

And to raise general awareness, particularly among young people, on Friday the CDC - in conjunction with the USDA and 4H - released an ambitious 60-page graphic novel on swine variant flu and how disease detectives investigate outbreaks.
The Junior Disease Detectives: Operation Outbreak Graphic Novel

Download the Graphic Novel Today
Web Version[21 MB, 60 Pages, Print Only]
Home Print Version[166 MB, 60 Pages, Print Only]
Professional Print Version[159 MB, 60 Pages, Print Only]

CDC has partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and 4-H to develop “The Junior Disease Detectives: Operation Outbreak,” a graphic novel intended to educate youth audiences about variant flu and the real disease detective work conducted by public and animal health experts when outbreaks of infectious diseases occur.

This graphic novel follows a group of teenage 4-H members who participate in a state agricultural fair and later attend CDC’s Disease Detective Camp in Atlanta. When one of the boys becomes sick following the fair, the rest of the group use their newly-acquired disease detective knowledge to help a team of public and animal health experts solve the mystery of how their friend became ill.

Seven years ago, in The CDC And The Zombie Apocalypse, I wrote about a very clever (and effective) preparedness essay written by Rear Admiral Ali S. Khan who told us that if we are prepared for a Zombie Apocalypse . . . we’re pretty much prepared for anything.
This was such a successful campaign, that it inspired a 2-part Graphic Novel that preached preparedness, and a number of tie-in posters and even T-Shirts.
Given the number of competing (and often badly misleading) public health messages out there in the media and on the Internet, creating new and compelling ways to reach audiences not prone to peruse CDC Stacks or the EID Journal has become an important goal for public health agencies.
As a child of the 1950's, it was Dr. Frank C. Baxter and the Bell Telephone Science Series that inspired my love of science (see my essay Remembering Dr. Frank Baxter).
Hopefully graphic novels, novellas, and viral memes are a way to do the same for the next generation.

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