REPORT: Most Swine Flu Cases Were in Ohio

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 9/28/12 @ 10:23 a.m.
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) -- A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more than two-thirds of the people who contracted a flu virus spread by swine at county fairs were from Ohio.

The report released Thursday also showed that 11 of 16 people hospitalized for H3N2v this summer were Ohioans. The state also had the only reported death associated with the outbreak.

The Dayton Daily News ( ) reports that 107 cases of the new flu were reported from July 28 through Sept. 24. Dr. Celia Quinn, author of the CDC report, said most cases were fairly mild.

Nationally, 306 cases have been reported. Indiana had the most cases, with 138 human infections reported.

So far, H3N2v has mostly been associated with swine exhibits at county fairs.

UPDATE 8/16/12
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Three swine flu cases have been confirmed in West Virginia.

The state Department of Health and Human Resources says all three cases were found in Mason County. The cases have been linked to attendance at the Gallia County Fair in Ohio where swine were present.

The Associated Press says the DHHR announced the cases Thursday.

The department says people attending fairs should wash their hands frequently. People with health issues should avoid contact swine at fairs.

UPDATE 8/14/12 @ 10:55 p.m.
GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (AP & WSAZ) -- Swine flu cases have increased statewide in Ohio, including in Gallia County, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

There are 11 confirmed cases in Gallia County where the fair ended Aug. 4.

The Ohio Department of Health says the number of H3N2 cases has increased to 54 statewide. Most involve people who had contact with hogs at fairs.

There's still no sign of the virus spreading from person to person.

Some county fairs in Ohio run into the first week of October.

UPDATE 8/9/12 @ 6:45 p.m.
GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department today put out a bulletin to folks headed to county fairs around the region, aimed at keeping them from getting sick.

It all comes after an outbreak of the flu, transmitted from pigs to humans, at the Gallia County Junior Fair last week.

Health experts said there's really only one way to get this flu: being around pigs, and then eating, drinking or touching your face-- without washing your hands.

Since last week, 200 people have come down with flu-like symptoms in Gallia County.

Out of those, 69 have tested positive with a test at the doctors office.

This flu is mild for the most part, and is treated with Tamiflu.

In Gallia County, the threat is pretty much over.

Only two new suspected cases showed up Thursday, and since this flu is only passed from pigs to humans, Gallia County Health Commissioner Dr. Gerald Vallee says there likely won't be any more.

"I would think by this time, that pretty much anybody who is going to be sick is already going to have been sick,” Dr. Vallee said. “I think at this point things are winding down."

New cases are winding down, but confirmed cases will probably be going up.

That's because it takes several days for the Ohio Department of Health or CDC to do the genetic testing on the samples taken back there.

That number is always going to be smaller than the actual number of cases-- because only a hand full are sent off for testing.

Doctors say even if a pig does have this flu, there's nothing wrong with the meat.

UPDATE 8/8/12 @ 4:15 p.m.
GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has confirmed four cases of H3N2 in Gallia County.

The strand of the flu is spread from pig-to-human contact. There have been no confirmed cases of humans passing it to other humans.

In a press release sent out Wednesday afternoon, the ODH reports there have been 30 confirmed cases of H3N2 across Ohio. Of those cases, one person has been treated at a hospital as a precaution, but was released.

Those with the confirmed cases range from 6 months in age to 36-years-old.

"There has been a tremendous increase in surveillance across the state,” said Dr. Ted Wymyslo, Director of the Ohio Department of Health. “We are not surprised by this increase in confirmed cases. We are also aware the flu viruses are not uncommon in swine. Even as we identify additional illnesses, this strain appears to remain mild and does not seem to be any more severe than what we see during most flu seasons."

Individuals who have reported close contact with swine and are exhibiting flu-like symptoms should reach out to their healthcare provider.

The cases were originally to be sent to the CDC to be tested, but now the ODH is handling all testing.

Gallia County Health Commissioner Dr. Gerald Vallee says there have been dozens of cases of this strand of the flu reported after the Gallia County Jr. Fair last week.

Vallee says it is safe to go to the local fairs and walk through the animal barns, but suggests washing hands frequently after being in animal barns, cover coughs and sneezes and do not consume food or drink around the animals.

The usual flu anti-viral drug has been effective in treating the virus, but most flu-like symptoms can be treated at home.

The ODH says young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older and people with weakened immune systems should be extra careful around animals.

If you have animals, including swine, watch them for signs of illness and call a vet if you suspect they might be sick. Avoid contact with animals that look or act ill.

Other cases of H3N2 have been reported in Butler County, Clark County, Greene County and Hamilton County.

Keep clicking on for the latest on this story.

ORIGINAL STORY 8/6/12 @ 8 p.m.
GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio & MASON COUNTY, W.Va.(WSAZ) -- According to the Gallia County Health Department, more than 35 people have tested positive for the flu in Gallia County, Ohio.

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control confirmed 15 cases of the flu contracted by humans from hogs at county fairs throughout the state of Ohio.

While that link has not been confirmed yet by the CDC in Gallia County, testing is underway.

It's enough to put other county fairs on edge.

In Mason County, W.Va., where the fair began Monday, the fair board learned of the situation in Ohio less than 24 hours before the gates opened. They had to act quickly to make sure things were safe for exhibitors like Brya' Hughes.

Brya' has shown hogs at the fair for several years. Last year, she came in second. But this year, winning is the last thing on her mind.

"I just care about my pig not getting sick," Brya' said. "And how my pig's going to be doing. I don't care about getting up there high again. I don't want to win or anything."

Her hog is one of 92 at the Mason County Fair. It's the most popular animal kids bring. After a call by the CDC, warning about a flu being spread by hogs, the fair board had to take action.

"One of the first things we did was meet with the local health department," Fair Board President Benny Hoffman said. "We sat down and worked on a plan to make sure we could prevent anything happening at our fair."

They banned food and drink from the barns, set up a hand-washing station and talked to kids about not spreading germs.

"There's nothing to be concerned with," Hoffman said. "We're taking precautions. We're gonna be watching the animals. Everybody just needs to come to the fair and have a good time."

The Gallia County Health Department says this flu is not currently being spread human-to-human, so there is no concern about it becoming pandemic.

Your best defense is to wash your hands.

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