MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Indiana health officials ask people to protect themselves from swine flu

Indiana state health officials stated on Wednesday that the people of Indiana need to take steps to protect themselves from swine flu at county and state fairs.

Swine flu is caused by one of several types of influenza viruses, which can include influenza C and subtypes of influenza A like H1N1, H1N2, H2N1, H3N2 and H2N3. Swine flu is common in pig populations throughout the world, but the transmission of the virus from pigs to humans it not common and will not always lead to a flu in the human recipient.

Symptoms of swine flu can range from fever, cough and sore throat to body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. In cases of death from swine flu, the most common cause of death is reparatory failure.

In Indiana, four cases of influenza A, the H3N2v strain, were detected this summer after individuals visited the Grant County Agricultural Fair from June 16-22. In 2012, the variant H3N2v was identified in Indiana and a total of 138 cases were reported.

"Fairs are a great way to get outdoors, have some fun and learn about agriculture," State Health Commissioner William VanNess, said. "If you plan to attend a fair this summer, just be sure to wash your hands frequently and avoid taking food into areas where animals are kept."

With several county fairs opening in the next few weeks, state health officials will increase surveillance for influenza symptoms.

"We are increasing our surveillance so we can learn more about this virus and because antiviral treatment is most effective if given within 48 hours," VanNess said. "It's important to contact your health care provider if you begin experiencing flu-like symptoms."