Several human swine flu cases are being linked to contact with pigs at the Fowlerville Family Fair.
How does one reduce the chances of contracting such variant viruses?
Swine Flu At Michigan Family Fair
The Fowlerville Family Fair was conducted between July 23 and 28, but on July 27, several pigs exhibited in the fair tested positive for swine flu. So far, two human cases of Influenza A have been confirmed, while several other attendees who reported experiencing flu-like symptoms are also being tested. That said, further tests are being conducted to determine if the influenza strains on the swine and the attendees are the same.
According to local news, the Livingston County Health Department, in coordination with the organizers of the fair, have reached out to fair attendees, exhibitors, and families who visited the swine barn immediately after receiving the test results.
Health care providers in the area are also instructed to look out for respiratory symptoms among patients who reported going to the fair or having exposure to swine.
Anyone who may have visited the swine barn and begin experiencing symptoms must immediately contact their healthcare provider. These symptoms are rather similar to seasonal flu’s symptoms such as fever, runny nose, cough, body aches, nausea, and vomiting, and may begin to appear even up to 10 days after the exposure.
Those who are at a higher risk for developing swine flu complications are children younger than 5 years old, older adults over 65 years old, pregnant women, and people with chronic illnesses such as asthma, heart disease, and diabetes. However, even healthy people may contract swine flu and develop complications that may lead to pneumonia or even death.
So far, no vaccine is available against swine flu, and it is often treated with Tamiflu and Relenza.
Preventing Swine Flu At Fairs
To prevent contracting variant viruses such as swine flu in events such as family fairs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that both attendees and exhibitors to be extra careful with the animals, whether or not one is at a high risk for infection.
For instance, it is important to remember not to eat or drink in the areas where the pigs reside, as well as not to take any food, drinks, or items such as pacifiers, baby bottles, toys, strollers, and cups into the area.
It is also crucial to remember to wash the hands properly both before and after having contact with the pigs, cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and exhibitors must use protective clothing such as gloves and face masks when handling a pig that is suspected to be ill. That said, people who exhibit flu symptoms should also avoid getting in contact with pigs.
Anyone who suspects that they may have swine flu must immediately contact their healthcare provider to determine if they need to be tested and treated for swine flu.
Similarly, it is also important to contact a veterinarian if a pig is suspected to have swine flu. Its symptoms include loss of appetite, cough, and runny nose.