Indiana reports four people sick with flu after swine contact at Grant County fair

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Indiana health officials are reporting that four people became ill with the flu after visiting the Grant County Fair over the past week.

Hoosiers are encouraged to wash their hands frequently if they attend a fair, and especially if they're in close contact with animals.

The four patients all visited the Grant County fair, and tested positive for variant influenza A H3N2v. At least two of them had contact with swine. The same flu strain was identified in Indiana last year, with a total of 138 cases in 2012.

The Indiana State Department of Health and the Grant County Health Department continue to investigate these cases.

Human infections with H3N2v are rare but have most commonly occurred after close proximity to live infected pigs, such as working with them in barns and livestock exhibits at fairs. Influenza viruses are not transmitted by eating pork and pork products.

According to the State Board of Animal Health, thirteen pigs at the fair tested positive for H3N2. It is not uncommon for pigs to be infected with swine influenza viruses but not show any signs of illness. If ill with influenza they typically recover.

Symptoms of variant influenza A include: fever, cough, sore throat, chills, headache and muscle aches. Diarrhea and nausea may occur in children. Symptoms can begin approximately one to four days after being exposed to the illness and last from two to seven days.

As several county fairs will open in the next few weeks, State health officials are increasing surveillance for influenza-like illness.