SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Indiana health department reports 12 swine flu cases

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 12 recent cases of variant influenza A, also known as swine influenza, and urged Hoosiers on Wednesday to take steps to protect themselves at county fairs.

The health department said that at least 10 individuals were exposed to swine at the Hancock and Grant county fairs with one individual exposed to swine at his or her home farm. In 2012, the state reported 138 cases of influenza A H3N2v.

"There's no reason why Hoosiers shouldn't enjoy our county and 4H fairs this summer," William VanNess, the state health commissioner, said. "But now that we know swine influenza is circulating, it's going to be important to take some extra precautions around the animals."

Precautions including washing hands with soap and water before and after petting or touching an animal, never drinking, eating or touching one's mouth after visiting animal areas and avoiding face-to-face contact with animals. Individuals particularly at-risk for flu complications should avoid close contact with swine in the fair setting.

Human infections with swine influenza are uncommon, but the cases most frequently occur after humans come into contact with live infected pigs. Symptoms of swine influenza include muscle aches, headache, chills, sore throat, cough and fever. The symptoms can start one to four days after exposure and last from two to seven days.