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Swine Flu Reported in Maryland

County fairs are known for fried foods, carnival rides, and… Swine Flu?! For the first time since 2012, seven individuals have been confirmed to have Swine Flu after visiting the Charles County Fair in La Plata, Maryland.

What happened?

As of September 26, 2017, seven cases of the influenza A (H3N2) variant virus, more commonly known as the Swine Flu, have been confirmed by the Maryland Department of Health. This cluster occurred in individuals who came into contact with five infected pigs at the Charles County Fair between September 14 and 17, 2017. Additionally, eleven pigs shown at the Great Frederick Fair in Frederick, Maryland, have also been put under quarantine after testing positive for the same strain of influenza. No cases Swine Flu in humans have been linked to the infected pigs in Frederick as of yesterday.

What is the Swine Flu?

The Swine Flu is a variant of the influenza A virus that originates in pigs that can be transferred to humans. People who come into close contact with infected pigs, including at agricultural fairs and workplaces in the swine industry, are more likely to come into contact with the disease. Activities like showing, raising, feeding, or cleaning infected pigs or pig feces can increase the probability of contracting the Swine Flu.

The symptoms and duration of the Swine Flu are very similar to that of the seasonal flu: fever, cough, pharyngitis (sore throat), rhinorrhea (runny nose), myalgia (muscle achiness), headache, vomiting and diarrhea lasting for about 3-5 days. Children under 5 years old, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems may be at a greater risk for serious complications.

Risk Mitigation: What do I do?

Most commonly people contract the Swine Flu after coming into contact with infected pigs, but it can also be passed from human to human. The spread of the disease can be prevented by washing hands frequently with soap and water, covering their coughs and sneezes and stay home when you’re sick, and did we say wash hands frequently with soap and water? People with compromised immune systems should steer clear of others who have already contracted the Swine Flu, and stay away from swine that are infected. Those who believe they may be infected should wear face masks and see a doctor immediately.

Moral of this story- stick to the funnel cakes and Ferris wheels!

For more information about the risk reduction steps to influenza, swine flu and other hazards, contact the experts at Cogency at solutions@cogencyteam.com.

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