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Health

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Humans, swine test positive for flu

The Indiana State Department of Health, the Indiana Board of Animal Health, and the LaPorte County Health Department are investigating an outbreak of four human illnesses associated with the LaPorte County Fair, which ended July 14.

Test results indicate the cause is a variant influenza A virus, and officials said several swine at the fair also tested positive for the virus.

All four of the people who fell ill had direct contact with swine and have since recovered from the illness.

Since 2011, 17 human cases of variant influenza A virus have been identified nationwide, according to the announcement of the investigation. Six were in Indiana.

Officials said those who come in contact with any animal should always wash their hands with soap and water before and after the contact. Health officials urge those in animal areas not to eat, drink or put anything in their mouths in animal areas.

Older adults, pregnant women, young children and people with weakened immune systems should be extra careful when around animals.

If you have direct, routine contact with swine – such as working in swine barns or showing swine at fairs -- and have experienced cough or influenza-like illness, officials said you should contact your health-care provider or local health department.

Symptoms include cough, sore throat, fever and body aches. Some people may also have nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

The State Board of Animal Health encourages swine owners to contact a veterinarian if their animals show signs consistent with flu, including coughing, respiratory illness, being off-feed and fever. Most county fairs have a private veterinary practitioner on call for on-site assistance.

You cannot catch this flu from touching or eating pork products, health officials said.

For more information

Indiana State Department of Health:

www.in.gov/isdh/25462.htm

CDC swine flu information:

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/swineflu/keyfacts-variant.htm

Fair safety tips:

http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20120723/BLOGS01/120729861

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