Illinois child diagnosed with H3N2 influenza after going to fair

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Hog (WQAD photo)

Illinois officials have confirmed a case of H3N2v influenza, commonly associated with exposure to infected swine.

Agricultural, county and state fairs pose heightened risk for human exposure when swine are present according to officials with the Illinois Department of Health.

A child who attended the Coles County Fair reportedly contracted the virus.  The case makes Illinois the fourth state to confirm human exposure to the virus this year.  Hawaii, Ohio and Indiana health officials have also confirmed humans with the H3N2v virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the virus circulates among swine but, like other forms of “swine flu” it can be contracted by humans. 

Most of the human cases are occurring in people who have been in direct contact with infected swine or who have been in a location where there were infected swine.

The H3N2 virus is a form of influenza A and was first detected in 2011. 

“It should be noted, however, that influenza viruses have not been shown to be transmissible to people through eating properly handled and prepared pork (pig meat) or other products derived from pigs,” said a statement on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Symptoms are similar to seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache and fatigue.   The illness usually lasts one to two weeks.

People with underlying health conditions are at higher risk for complications from the virus.  If you have symptoms of influenza, you should see a health care provider.

Frequent and thorough hand washing is the most-recommended method of prevention.  Avoid taking food or drinks into an animal area and consider avoiding animal areas if you have an underlying health condition. 

The Illinois child infected with the virus was not hospitalized.  All of the people diagnosed with the virus have fully recovered. 

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