MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Influenza A outbreak linked to exposure to swine flu at agricultural fairs in Ohio

New research from the Centers for Disease Control showed a 2012 outbreak of swine-origin influenza A is linked to exposure to the virus during agricultural fairs that were held throughout the state of Ohio that year.

In 2012, approximately 300 human cases of the swine flu associated with influenza A (H3N2) variant virus were reported, 16 of which resulted in hospitalization and one of which resulted in death. The number of confirmed human cases in Ohio came in second behind Indiana at 107, according to the research.

The study, which examined the incidence of swine flu in pigs at 40 agricultural fairs held in the state, showed the virus was present in at least one pig at 25 percent of the fairs. It also linked seven fairs to human infection with the subtype H3N2v virus.

Additionally, the research showed that while infected animals are generally removed from public display and isolated from exhibition at agricultural fairs, 60 percent of the fairs did not report any signs of illness in the pigs.

According to the authors of the study, the findings suggest that improved efforts to limit the spread of the virus in pigs could help to limit human infection.

"These measures include, but are not limited to, shortening the length of exhibitions, vaccinating swine and humans against influenza A virus infection, promoting awareness at exhibitions, continuous monitoring of swine for signs of influenza-like illness, posting risk-communication signage for visitors to the swine barns and decreasing movement of swine between fairs," the researchers said. "Active communication and partnerships between human and animal health agencies are needed for development and implementation of appropriate prevention and control plans."

The study was conducted by researchers from Ohio State University, the Ohio Department of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratories and University of Minnesota.