Child contracts new strain of swine flu at Illinois county fair - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Child contracts new strain of swine flu at Illinois county fair

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SPRINGFIELD (WREX) -

A child has contracted H3N2v influenza virus after attending the Coles County Fair, marking the first appearance of the virus in Illinois.

The child has not been hospitalized, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health are partnering with local, state, and federal health officials to identify how the child contracted the virus. Most cases of H3N2v have occurred after contact with swine. Cases of the virus being transmitted from human to human are rare.

"The H3N2v virus is relatively new, but the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Illinois Department of Agriculture and our federal partners are monitoring this situation closely," IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck said. "We want you to enjoy your time at the state or county fair, so one key thing to do to stay healthy is to wash your hands frequently, especially if you are around swine."

Hand washing stations at fairs around the state have been increased and every animal on the state fair grounds has been inspected by the department of agriculture. A veterinarian is also on site. The IDPH recommends the following tips to avoid influenza:

  • Frequently washing hands with soap and water before and after exposure to animals
  • Not eating, drinking, or putting anything into your mouth while visiting animal areas
  • Not taking food or drinks into animal areas
  • Avoiding close contact with animals that look or act ill
  • Using caution when deciding to visit an animal area if you have an underlying health condition

The flu is contracted through droplets expelled when an infected person or animal coughs or sneezes. The droplets can then either be inhaled or on surface you touch with your hand before touching your mouth or nose.

Symptoms of H3N2v include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

The illness can last for up to two weeks and children, the elderly, pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems, and those with asthma, diabetes, and heart disease are especially vulnerable.

H3N2v is a variant of influenza A, which was first detected in 2011. Four states have reported cases of the virus this year, including Illinois, Hawaii, Indiana, and Ohio. The CDC is currently reporting 145 cases of the virus in the United States. Just 29 were reported last week. However, only two patients have been hospitalized. This strain of flu has generated mostly mild illnesses.

If you have, or do, come into contact with swine and are experiencing any of the above symptoms, contact your health care provider.

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