Austin Weekly, a member of the 4-H Milford Mini Farmers, kept his pigs calm at the Butler County Fair July 24, 2012. The Centers for Disease Control confirmed that were nine cases of the H3N2v swine flu that came from the fair. Photo by Tony Jones.
Sheila McLaughlin reports
The Centers for Disease Control confirmed Thursday that nine of 10 suspected influenza cases at the Butler County Fair have tested positive for the H3N2v swine flu.
A 10th case is still being tested, state health officials said.
That puts Butler County in the lead for confirmed H3N2v cases so far this year throughout the country. Cases were confirmed in Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Pennsylvania, Utah and West Virginia and the majority were linked to hogs.
The strain in Butler County matches he virus that infected four people at the LaPorte County Fair in Indiana last month, health officials said.
All those who fell sick in Butler County had direct contact with hogs that were being shown at the fair. None were hospitalized with the illness which includes typical flu symptoms.
Several hogs being shown became sick at the fair.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture is expecting results on Friday of tests done on three hogs. That would confirm the fair animals as the source of the virus.
Most of the hogs at the Butler County Fair are sold for slaughter, so that limited the number of samples the state agency could collect, said agriculture spokeswoman Erica Pitchford. The cooked pork is safe to eat.
“We’re very concerned right now with making sure reaching out to the other fairs that haven’t started yet and to the 4-H clubs getting them some information to post, some safety precautions for the folks that are going to be spending a lot of time in the barns,” Pitchford said.
“The state veterinarian has been on the phone with fair vets all throughout the day making suggestions about extra hand sanitation stations and signs about not bringing food into the barns.”
The Butler County and state health departments are continuing their investigation to determine the extent of the illness from the fair.
Pat Burg, director at the Butler County Health Department, said earlier that 41 people, including 39 children – ranging in age from 1 to 15 – had reported getting sick with flu-like symptoms. Most of the children were hog exhibitors or friends who had spent time in the barn.
No testing was done on those cases because the people had already recovered by the time they called the health department.
Burg said test samples from an 11th case also were being evaluated by the Centers for Disease Control but results were expected to come later.
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