Arkansas reports two cases of swine flu variant H1N1(v)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that two people in Arkansas have been infected with a strain of influenza known as H1N1(v) after contact with pigs.
“A few times a year an animal variant of the influenza virus is identified in humans” said Dr. Dirk Haselow, State Epidemiologist. “Viruses of this type typically cause only mild illness in those affected and, in contrast to seasonal flu, are not easily transmitted from person to person” added Haselow. The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) has carefully monitored the patient contacts for several days without evidence of any human to human spread. Both patients identified to date have recovered fully.
When an influenza virus that normally circulates in swine is detected in a person, it is called a variant influenza virus and is labeled with a ‘v’. Influenza viruses such as H1N1(v) and other related variants are not unusual in swine and can be directly transmitted from swine to people and from people to swine. When humans are in close proximity to live swine, such as in barns and livestock exhibits at fairs, movement of these viruses can occur back and forth between humans and animals.
“We are not currently aware of any additional human influenza cases caused by H1N1(v) and do not anticipate making any new public health recommendations regarding human exposure to swine. However, we will continue to assess the situation and conduct aggressive surveillance for additional influenza cases” Haselow emphasized.
The illnesses resulting from H1N1(v) infection are similar to seasonal influenza. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, decreased energy, coughing, runny nose, and sore throat. Contact your health care provider if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms and inform the doctor if you have had contact with swine.
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