ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota health officials have confirmed an additional case of variant H3N2 (H3N2v) influenza, more commonly referred to as swine flu.
The latest case involves a man in his twenties from the Twin Cities metro area. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) says the man had purchased a pig at a live animal market in Dakota County on Aug. 17.
MDH officials emphasized that they expect to continue seeing more cases of the illness, and that the virus has not become more virulent or more easily spread.
"We expect to continue seeing new cases of this illness, at least for a while," said Deputy State Epidemiologist Richard Danila. "However, we have not seen any change in the behavior of this virus. We have been actively looking for cases. We are recommending that clinicians ask patients about swine contact, and send clinical samples for patients with influenza symptoms."
"Although people can get the virus from pigs, it isn't easily passed from one person to another, and the illness has not been severe," Danila continued. "This latest flu patient did not require hospitalization."
So far this year, nationwide, 277 cases of H3N2v influenza have been reported to CDC. Since July only 13 people have been hospitalized. All have since recovered.
The latest Minnesota case is the third to occur in a state resident who had visited a live animal market. Minnesota had previously recorded one confirmed and one probable case in children whose family had been to a live animal market.
Officials from MDH and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) have been working with proprietors of the three live animal markets in the Twin Cities to reduce the risk of becoming infected at one of those facilities.
Health experts emphasize that humans can't get swine flu from eating pork.
Efforts are also continuing efforts to prevent the spread of H3N2v in connection with swine exhibits at the State Fair and local county fairs. Nationally, most reported human cases of the illness have occurred in young people who were exhibiting swine at state or local fairs, and who had prolonged, close contact with their animals. Fair officials have stepped-up procedures in place to monitor swine exhibitors for flu symptoms.
The symptoms of swine flu, which tend to come on suddenly, can include a sore throat, coughing, fever, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. People who are at risk for severe illness or become severely ill with influenza-like symptoms should see a physician.
People at highest risk for flu complications include:
- children under five and people age 65 and older
- pregnant women
- people with underlying health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or neurological problems
Because influenza is caused by a virus, antibiotics are not effective against it.
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