HAMILTON, Ohio - State health officials are looking into several cases of influenza that possibly originated from swine at the Butler County Fair.
On Wednesday, the Ohio Department of Health and the Butler County Health Department announced an investigation into human illnesses linked to the Butler County Fair, which took place in Hamilton from July 22 through July 28. The individuals who got the flu had direct contact with the fair’s swine — a carrier of a strain of influenza that can be directly transmitted to humans.
When humans are in close proximity to live infected swine — like at a fair — movement of the virus can occur back and forth between humans and animals, according to information released by the ODH. Officials did not release information about the number of flu cases linked to the Butler County Fair.
The Butler County Health Department is working with state health officials and the Center for Disease Control to determine the extent of the illnesses. The Ohio Department of Agriculture is asking fair exhibitors to take precautions and for area veterinarians to closely monitor swine for signs of influenza.
All fair animals, especially pigs, are monitored for illness and signs of flu-like symptoms and are check by veterinarians every day they are at the fair, according to the ODH.
Officials say fair attendance is safe, but visitors should remember to wash their hands with soap and water after being near livestock. Also, visitors should never eat or drink in the animal exhibits.
If you think you may have influenza, contact your health care provider or local health department. Symptoms include a cough, sore throat, fever, body aches and other symptoms like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
For more information, go to http://www.cdc.gov/flu/spotlights/safe-fair-going.htm .
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