The Central District Health Department is warning fair-goers about the risk of coming in contact with the H3N2 flu virus at the animal exhibits.
The CDHD advises frequent hand washing at animal exhibits and avoidance of the swine exhibit for high risk populations including: pregnant women, children 5 years and younger, adults 65 years and older, and individuals with chronic medical conditions or a weakened immune system.
225 individuals in the U.S. have been infected with influenza (H3N2v) linked to individuals visiting agricultural fairs with direct contact or close contact with swine across the United States since July.
Swine exhibit attendees and exhibitors are advised to wash hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds before and after visiting swine and other animal exhibits to protect themselves and others. Hand sanitizer is recommended in the absence of hand washing.
Signs and symptoms of influenza (H3N2v) include: fever, cough, sore throat, muscle pain, and headache.
"This is a new virus and we are following it closely" states Katie Wichman, community health nurse. "Persons who experience these symptoms following direct or close contact with swine should call their health care provider who can test for influenza and may prescribe antiviral medications to reduce the severity and length of the illness."
Influenza viruses have not been shown to be transmissible to people through eating properly handled and prepared pork food products.
Items that should NOT be brought into the swine exhibit are:
For more information on H3N2v go to the Central District Health Department's website at www.cdhd.ne.gov.