August 8, 2012 in Health

Ohio swine flu cases, now at 30, linked to fairs

KANTELE FRANKO Associated Press
 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The number of confirmed swine flu cases in Ohio has doubled to 30, all involving people who had direct contact with hogs at fairs, but the increase isn’t surprising amid heightened surveillance for signs of the virus, health officials said Wednesday.

Officials said they haven’t confirmed any Ohio cases of the virus spreading from person to person, instead of from hogs to humans. One person who was hospitalized as a precaution has been released.

The current strain of the virus appears mild and is similar to a seasonal flu that responds quickly to treatment, officials said.

The announcement Wednesday of more cases came as four Ohio counties were in the midst of their fairs and 25 more prepared for fairs opening later this month.

State officials have been urging people to take precautions such as washing their hands after contact with hogs. They’ve also asked fair officials, veterinarians and local health care providers to watch for signs of the virus.

“We want to keep the people of Ohio healthy, just as we want to keep our animals healthy,” director David Daniels of the Ohio Department of Agriculture said in a statement.

Half of the confirmed flu cases were in Butler County in southwest Ohio and were linked to the fair there. Clark, Gallia, Green and Hamilton counties each had three or four people confirmed with the virus, the state said.

A change in protocol by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will enable the state Department of Health to do final testing to confirm any further cases of the virus, Ohio officials said.

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