A health worker holds doses of influenza A (H1N1) vaccines in a jail in Ciudad Juarez March 29, 2011. Local health authorities have reported the reappearance of the influenza A (H1N1) virus, or swine flu, in the state of Chihuahua. So far, three people have died and another three have been reported to be infected with the virus (Photo : Reuters)
Health officials have confirmed a strain of the swine flu virus has been detected in southwest Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say an H3N2 variant of the flu virus infected nine of 10 suspected people.
Ohio Department of Health spokesperson Robert Jennings said it is possible there may be more cases of the virus as health officials are still gather information. Five confirmed cases have been reported in Indiana, and one in Hawaii. An unconfirmed number of cases have also been detected in Iowa, Maine, Pennsylvania, Utah, and West Viriginia, says Lisa Ferguson of the US Department of Agriculture.
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Ohio officials are asking doctors to keep an eye for patients with symptoms of the flue. Some of the symptoms include body aches, cough, fever, sore throat, nausea, and diarrhea.
The summer season usually brings an increase of county fairs, with thousands of people in close contacts with pigs, according to the Associated Press. At the annual Ohio State Fair this week in Columbus, featured nearly 1,500 hogs.
Fairgoers are advised to wash their hands and not to take food and drinks into livestock barns. People with a weaker immune system, such as pregnant women, young children, and the elderly, are advised to proceed with caution when entering the barns.
The CDC have expressed concern of the new variant of the swine flu, because it has acquired a key gene known as the "M gene"
"The M gene from a virus that's shown the ability to adapt to humans is now in a virus that's coming from swine," said Dr. Joseph Bresee of the CDC's influenza division. "It may be a little different, but it's still not a human virus."
The Ohio State Fair have since added hand sanitizers around the barns and owners and veterinarians being asked to watch if any of the hogs feel ill. The Indiana State Fair have increased health securities and will not showcase pigs with temperatures above 105 degrees.