BERRIEN SPRINGS (WWJ/AP) – Health officials say a strain of swine flu is responsible for an illness that sickened a child who recently attended the Berrien County Youth Fair in southwestern Michigan.
The state Department of Community Health announced Thursday it was the first case of H3N2 variant flu virus this year in Michigan.
The department says the child, who was not hospitalized, likely contracted the virus at the fair’s swine exhibit. Officials say a pig from the fair tested positive for Influenza A H3N2.
The state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is involved, along with the Berrien County Health Department.
Officials want to find out whether others became ill. They’ve also reached out to meat processing plants that got pigs from the fair.
Symptoms of H3N2v infection in people are similar to those of seasonal flu viruses and can include fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough and runny nose, and possibly other symptoms, such as body aches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Infections with influenza viruses (including variant viruses like H3N2v) can sometimes cause severe disease, even in healthy people.
People who are at high risk of developing complications if they get influenza include children younger than 5 years of age, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems, and neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions.
The incubation period (the time it takes from exposure to illness) is one to seven days; and most commonly two days. Therefore, it is unlikely that there will be new cases from direct exposure at the recent Berrien County Youth Fair.
Early treatment works best and may be especially important for people with a high risk condition. Currently there is no vaccine for H3N2v and the seasonal flu vaccine will not protect against H3N2v.
Below are some steps that you can take to protect yourself and prevent the spread of any illness:
•Avoid close contact with sick people.
•Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
•Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
•Do not eat or drink in livestock barns or show rings.
•Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
•If you are sick, stay home from work or school until your illness is over.
•Avoid contact with pigs if you have flu-like symptoms. Wait 7 days after your illness started or until you have been without fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, whichever is longer. If you must have contact with pigs while you are sick, take the protective actions listed above.
•Get an annual influenza vaccination.
For more information about H3N2v, visit www.cdc.gov.
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