Health Officials: 2 Sickened By Swine Flu In Livingston County

August 03, 2018 - 4:53 pm

FOWLERVILLE (WWJ) - Two people have fallen ill after attending the Fowlerville Family Fair in Livingston County. 

According to state health officials, the two have tested positive for Influenza A, commonly known as swine flu, after being exposed to sick pigs at the festival that took place July 23-28 in the village, just north of I-96, west of Howell. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Livingston County Health Department (LCHD), which are investigating the incident, said several pigs from the fair tested positive for swine flu on July 27.

Further laboratory testing is underway to determine if the flu viruses found in the swine and the ill persons are the same strain, officials said, and additional fair attendees are also reporting influenza-like illness and are being tested. 

LCHD, in coordination with the Fowlerville Fair Board, reached out to swine exhibitors, their families and attendees who visited the swine barn at the fair shortly after receiving the test results to notify them of possible exposure to infected pigs. The LCHD also instructed healthcare providers in the area to watch for patients presenting with respiratory symptoms who report exposure to swine or who visited the fair.

No details about the patients have been released. 

Human swine flu infection is thought to happen when an infected pig coughs or sneezes and droplets with influenza virus land in someone’s nose or mouth, acroding to helath officials, or are inhaled. There also is some evidence that the virus might spread by someone touching something that has virus on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

Symptoms of infection are usually mild and similar to those of seasonal flu viruses. But as with seasonal flu, complications can lead to hospitalization and death. Symptoms include fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough and runny nose, as well as body aches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Some populations are at higher risk of developing complications if they get influenza, including children younger than five years of age, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term health conditions including like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or weakened immune systems.

Below are some steps that you can take to protect yourself and prevent the spread of any illness:

• Anyone who is at high risk of serious flu complications and planning to attend a fair should avoid pigs and swine barns
• Do not eat or drink in livestock barns or show rings
• Don’t take toys, pacifiers, cups, baby bottles, strollers, or similar items into pig areas
• Avoid contact with pigs if you have flu-like symptoms. Wait seven days after your illness started or until you have been without fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, whichever is longer
• Avoid close contact with sick people
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way
• If you are sick, stay home from work or school until your illness is over