November 23, 2014

Six Ill From Swine Flu After Attending Minnesota State Fair

Two strains of swine flu have sickened visitors to the Minnesota State Fair, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Four cases of H1N2v were reported after the patients exhibited pigs or spent time in the swine barn at the Fair. Two new presumptive cases of the H3N2v flu have occurred: one a school-aged girl form the Twin Cities area and another in a pre-school-aged boy from greater Minnesota. Both children have fully recovered.

The children visited the swine barn at the Minnesota State Fair with their families on September 2, 2012 and became ill on September 5. Neither family was exhibiting swine at the fair. Specimens from both children have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmation.

This is the first time that human infection with the H3N2v virus has been linked to the State Fair. Both of the strains are zoonotic, that is, they can spread from animals to humans. The virus is not easily spread through person-to-person contact, and people cannot get the virus from eating correctly handled and cooked pork.

The H3N2v strain has sickened 297 people and caused one death since the beginning of 2012. Most of the cases were young people who exhibited pigs at state or county fairs. There may still be more cases of either strain, but the time window is closing. The Minnesota State Fair ended on September 3, 2012. For more about the swine flu, including symptoms, what to do if you get sick, and how to minimize your risk, see the Minnesota Department of Health “2012 Swine Flu Basics” page.

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