UPDATE (11:42 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 4): During West Virginia Governor Jim Justice’s Thursday press conference, State Epidemiologist Shannon McBee confirmed that the West Virginia DHHR has discovered two presumed positive cases of swine flu.
She said that the risk to the general public is currently low, but anyone who visited the swine barn at the Jackson County Fair and is exhibiting symptoms of H1N1 should visit their healthcare provider.
JACKSON COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — Several people that handled swine at the Jackson County Fair have developed a flu-like illness with respiratory symptoms and fever, according to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ (DHHR) Bureau for Public Health (BPH).
The DHHR and the Jackson County Health Department are investigating the cases. The DHHR’s Office of Laboratory Services found presumptive influenza A in at least one human sample on Tuesday. The sample was forwarded for confirmation to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“If experiencing symptoms such as fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough or congestion, it is extremely important to let your healthcare provider know if you or your loved one has visited a recent outdoor event with animal livestock, such as pigs, and to be appropriately evaluated,” said Dr. Ayne Amjad, DHHR’s State Health Officer and BPH Commissioner. “These symptoms usually show up 1-3 days after exposure.”
According to the DHHR, swine flu viruses can circulate in pig populations and usually do not infect humans. When transmission does occur, it is usually after a human had contact with a pig in a public setting or directly worked with infected swine.
The DHHR encourages residents to take routine precautions when visiting animal exhibits. These precautions include:
- Washing hands with soap and water before and after animal exposure;
- Not taking personal items, food or drinks into barns or areas with animals;
- Avoid close contact with sick animals or pigs with flu-like symptoms.
The same influenza antiviral drugs used to treat seasonal influenza can also be used for swine flu infection in humans, the DHHR says.