The Ohio Department of Health announced that additional cases of Influenza A variant H3N2 have been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There are currently 14 humans cases identified in Butler County, linked to swine exposure at the Butler County Fair; and one confirmed human case in Clark County, linked to swine exposure at the Ohio State Fair.
Those with confirmed cases of H3N2v are between the ages of 3 and 36 years old, and to date, none of the confirmed cases have resulted in hospitalization.
On Monday, ODH hosted a statewide conference call with all local health departments to provide an update on the situation.
Local health departments have been urged to work with agriculture and fair officials to post necessary signage and to speak directly with those working in livestock facilities to ensure necessary care is taken to avoid further transmission of the H3N2v strain.
Individuals who have reported close contact with swine and are exhibiting flu-like systems will undergo testing. Samples will be sent to the ODH laboratory for preliminary testing and then to CDC for confirmation. ODH will provide notice of any additional H3N2v human case confirmations.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is actively working with industry partners to assist with public education efforts and to increase the number of hand sanitation stations available at county fairs.
ODA will make contact this week with each upcoming fair veterinarian instructing them to post signage for both the exhibitors and for the visiting public, to closely monitor swine health and to take temperatures of any ill swine and notify ODA immediately of the results.
ODA will continue to swab and test animals as needed throughout the fair season.
With county fairs running into the first week of October in Ohio, ODA and ODH remind residents and visitors that fair attendance is safe. Those attending the fair should remember:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and running water before and after exposure to animals.
- Never eat, drink or put things in your mouth in animal areas, and don't take food or drink into animal areas.
- 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 veterinarian if you suspect they might be sick.
- Avoid close contact with animals that look or act ill, when possible.
- Avoid contact with swine if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms.
In Kentucky, where the Boone County Fair is happening this week, officials say they are always doing what they can to keep patrons safe. There are signs up warning people to not touch the animals, and hand washing stations are readily available.