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 was a swine exhibitor at this month's fair from Aug. 12 - 17. Officials say the child wasn't hospitalized. And 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.
“While this variant flu virus has rarely been shown to spread from person to person, we remain on the look-out for such secondary cases. In addition, any individual with flu-like-symptoms at this time, prior to the traditional flu season, should contact their medical provider and local health department,” said Dr. Rick Johansen, Medical Director of the BCHD.
Officials 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. This can include complications, such as pneumonia, which may require hospitalization, and sometimes results in death. 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.
Avoid spreading illnesses:
- 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.