Washtenaw County child contracts swine flu virus from pigs
Editor's note: This story was updated at 5:20 p.m. with further information from the CDC.
The first reported case in Michigan of a variant of swine flu known as H3N2 has surfaced in a Washtenaw County child who caught the virus after contact with pigs, health officials said.
Photo courtest of Farm Sanctuary
“Symptom-wise, it looks like seasonal flu,” Ringler-Cerniglia said.
Symptoms have included fever, cough, pharyngitis, myalgia and headache.
As of Aug. 10, the swine flu H3N2 virus has been detected in 166 humans since it first surfaced in the U.S. in August 2011. The vast majority of those cases have been reported in 2012.
The rise of new cases prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Protection to issue a Health Advisory Aug. 3 and offer two telebriefing sessions this month.
The case count of jumped from 29 the week of July 30 to 158 the week of Aug. 6, thanks to a wave of new cases in Indiana and Ohio, said Dr. Joseph Bresee of the CDC.
No hospitalizations or deaths have been reported with the most recent cases.
Should the virus begin transmitting from person to person, Ringler-Cerniglia said the department would take further measures.
There is no vaccine for the H3N2 variant of the influenza virus. Early steps to make a vaccine against the variant have been taken, but no decision to mass produce such a vaccine has been made.
The seasonal flu vaccine is not designed to protect against H3N2.
Courtesy of CDC
The Public Health Department will be updating area practitioners about the presence of the virus, Ringler-Cerniglia said.
Those most at risk for contracting H3N2, as well as any other influenza strain, are those younger than 5 or older than 65, pregnant, or have a weakened immune system.
There have been no additional reports of human cases of H3N2 in Ingham County, said Christine Hendrickson, public information officer for the Ingham County Health Department.
The Ingham County Fair ended Aug. 4. The incubation period for the virus has passed, Hendrickson said, but still urged anyone who may have had contact with swine and feels sick to visit their doctor.
Hendrickson said no dead pigs were reported during the fair.
According to a statement from Dr. Dean Sienko, Interim Chief Medical Executive for the Michigan Department of Community Health, simple steps can be taken to protect your health.
"While this strain of flu is new to Michigan, it's important that people remember the common-sense simple steps that can be take to protect their health as we would with any flu season," Dr. Sienko said.
The MDCH urges those who have contact with pigs to wash their hands frequently, do not eat or drink in pig areas, and if you own pigs, to watch for sickness in animals and call a veterinarian if they appear to be sick.