NewsHealth / July 3, 2018

Swine Flu Variant Present In Indiana

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Swine Flu Variant Present In Indiana

Pixabay/public domain

Health officials are concerned about the pig flu – or H3N2 variant – virus’s ability to mutate. This is the first time in nearly five years the virus has been reported in the state. 

The Indiana State Department of Health, ISDH, sent an advisory last week to warn Hoosiers headed to county fairs to avoid contact with pigs. 

ISDH outbreak supervisor Shawn Richards says swine flu viruses don’t normally infect people. 

"What we’re concerned about is when it changes enough to become transmitted person to person with that variant flu because people wouldn’t have that much immunity to it," says Richards. 

There have only been about 400 cases of this variation since 2012. More than a third have been in Indiana.

READ MORE: Researchers Use Indiana Fairs To Learn More About Swine Flu 

Richards says that may be because of awareness. 

"When people start looking for it and we have a very good reporting system so maybe just the increased knowledge that it’s increasing at that time," says Richards. 

Health officials caution children and people at risk limit contact with pigs at fairs.  Humans cannot get the flu from eating pork, but putting anything in your mouth while in pig barns – food, drinks, tobacco products – can expose people to the virus.

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