MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Just a couple days out from the start of the Minnesota State Fair, officials have a confirmed case of the swine flu in the state.
The new strain is called H3N2v, and people usually get this flu from pigs, not from other people. About 1,000 pigs are scheduled to arrive at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in the next couple days.
State health officials said they had a feeling a few cases might happen in Minnesota. That’s because there have been more than 200 cases in eight other states this summer, mainly at other fairs in the Midwest.
A lot of kids show their pigs at the Minnesota State Fair, and this new swine flu that’s in Minnesota was found in at least one younger child.
Minnesota’s first confirmed case of the strain came from Dakota County, according to health officials. Doctors think two preschool-aged children caught the bug after visiting a live-animal market with pigs earlier this month.
A young child has a confirmed case, and an older sibling has a probable case. Neither had to stay in the hospital, and both are getting better at home.
If you head to the fair, Minnesota health officials say there’s no reason to panic, just make sure you take the necessary precautions.
“Wash your hands, don’t eat and drink in the animal barns and if you are one of the people in those high-risk groups, consider not going to the swine barns,” said Joni Scheftel with the Minnesota Department of Health.
High-risk groups are those with medical conditions, elderly, youth and pregnant woman. A veterinarian said the virus is transmitted directly from pigs, and 93 percent of cases are in children. It’s mostly children who show off their own swine at fairs.
Symptoms include a fever, cough and sore throat. They say it takes about 2 days to see symptoms. Also, important to know: You cannot get this virus or any kind of flu by eating animal products. So feel free to eat that pork and bacon come fair time.
Officials said there will be vets checking the pigs when they arrive at the fair, and there will be signs posted telling fairgoers what to do to avoid getting sick.