TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Arkansas Department of Health reports two cases of swine flu

The Arkansas Department of Health warned citizens to take precautions when dealing with swine after he Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed two cases of H1N1 influenza.

"A few times a year an animal variant of the influenza virus is identified in humans" State Epidemiologist Dirk Haselow said. "Viruses of this type typically cause only mild illness in those affected and, in contrast to seasonal flu, are not easily transmitted from person to person."

The two confirmed cases both occurred after the people had contact with pigs. The ADH closely monitored both people for several days to observe the risk of human-to-human spread. Both people have fully recovered from the infection.

"We are not currently aware of any additional human influenza cases caused by H1N1 and do not anticipate making any new public health recommendations regarding human exposure to swine," Haselow said. "However, we will continue to assess the situation and conduct aggressive surveillance for additional influenza cases."

It is known that humans and swine can pass certain infections, including influenza, back and forth between one another. The ADH did not report a risk of getting an influenza infection from eating properly handled and prepared pork or other meats derived from swine.

"ADH has been carefully following all suspected cases of influenza," Haselow said. "We have also worked closely with our veterinary colleagues and the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission to remain informed about potential infections in swine. It is because of this careful surveillance that these cases have come to our attention."