From the community ~
A new strain of flu virus (H3N2v) has been identified in the United States. To date, 145 people who had contact with pigs in four states (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Hawaii) since July 12 have contracted the new flu strain. All 145 cases reported contact with swine (pigs) prior to becoming ill by exhibiting swine at or attending an agricultural fair, including walking into a barn with sick pigs. There have been no cases reported in Skokie and only one in Illinois.
The Skokie Health Department recommends the protective actions listed below for people who may interact with live animals at fairs or petting zoos:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water before and after exposure to animals.
- Never eat, drink or put things in your mouth while in animal areas and don't take food or drink into animal areas.
- Young children, pregnant women, people age 65 and older and people with weakened immune systems should be extra careful around animals.
- Avoid close contact with animals that look or act ill.
- Avoid contact with pigs if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms as people can give flu to pigs.
- Persons with swine contact who have flu-like illness (fever, cough, and runny nose) and who are at high risk for flu virus complications may wish to contact their doctor.
The Skokie Health Department also is alerting the medical community to be aware of the potential for infection in their patients. Additional information can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/spotlights/h3n2v_us_cases.htm