Published On: Fri, Aug 3rd, 2012

11 Cases of Flu Illness Confirmed In Indiana

11 Cases of Flu Illness Confirmed In IndianaINDIANAPOLIS— Health officials have confirmed six additional cases of variant influenza A, bringing the total case number to 11 statewide. All cases have been linked to swine. The Indiana State Department of Health and local health departments continue to investigate potential new cases.

The additional cases were identified in Tipton, Jennings and LaPorte counties. Jackson County has also experienced four cases.

“We haven’t seen any transmission from person to person at this point,” said State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin, M.D. “All of the confirmed cases have had direct contact with swine. As Hoosiers visit fairs around the state this summer, they should take extra care to practice thorough hand washing and avoid eating when around animals.”

Flu symptoms usually include fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough, sore throat, and runny nose, and possibly other symptoms, such as body aches, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.  Symptoms usually last about two to five days.

Variant Influenza A virus can be directly transmitted from swine to people and from people to swine. Human infections are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to live infected pigs, such as working with them in barns and livestock exhibits at fairs.  Influenza viruses are not transmitted by eating pork and pork products.

While influenza is not an uncommon diagnosis in pigs, the State Board of Animal Health encourages swine owners to contact a veterinarian if their animals show signs consistent with flu, including coughing, respiratory illness, off-feed and fever. Most county fairs have a private veterinary practitioner on call for on-site assistance.

Hoosiers are encouraged to wash hands with soap and water before and after petting or touching any animal.  Never eat, drink, or put anything in your mouth when visiting animal areas.  Older adults, pregnant women, young children, and people with weakened immune systems should be extra careful around animals.

The best way to prevent spread of influenza is to practice good hygiene.  Wash your hands frequently. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow.  If possible, avoid contact with those who are ill.  Stay home if you develop influenza symptoms and contact your health care provider.

Additional information regarding influenza can be found at the Indiana State Department of Health website at www.in.gov/isdh/25462.htm.

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