State Health Department Confirms H3N2v Influenza Case

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) laboratory has confirmed one case of what is known as the H3N2v influenza virus, which has now been reported in four states this year – Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. IDPH is working with local, state and federal health officials, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Coles County Health Department, to identify how a child, who attended the Coles County Fair, contracted the virus last week. This child has not been hospitalized. CDC is conducting additional laboratory testing.

H3N2v is a variant form of influenza A, which was first detected in 2011. The CDC is currently reporting more than a dozen cases in the U.S. this year, but CDC will update its numbers later today and they are expected rise dramatically. Most infections have occurred following contact with swine, and cases of the virus being transmitted from person to person are rare. So far, the severity of illnesses associated with this virus in people has been similar to the severity of illnesses associated with seasonal flu virus infections.

"The H3N2v virus is relatively new, but the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Illinois Department of Agriculture and our federal partners are monitoring this situation closely," said IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. "We want you to enjoy your time at the state or county fair, so one key thing to do to stay healthy is to wash your hands frequently, especially if you are around swine."

The state health department and the state agriculture department have increased hand washing stations on the fair grounds and provided guidance and prevention recommendations to fair exhibitors, local health departments and health care providers. The department of agriculture looks at every animal at the state fair grounds and a veterinarian is on site.

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Tips to avoid influenza include:

Wash your hands frequently with soap and water before and after exposure to animals.

Do not eat, drink or put anything in your mouth while visiting animal areas.

Do not take food or drinks into animal areas.

Avoid close contact with animals that look or act ill.

Use caution when deciding to visit an animal area if you have an underlying health condition.

Influenza is contracted through droplets when an infected person or animal coughs or sneezes. Those droplets can either be inhaled or can be on a surface you touch with your hand, and then touch your mouth or nose.

Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache and fatigue. Illness can last a week or two. Certain people have a higher risk of serious infection from influenza including the very young, elderly, pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems and those with asthma, diabetes and heart disease. If you have, or do come into contact with swine and are experiencing flu symptoms, contact your health care provider.