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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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New Swine Flu Outbreak: Case Count Rising

145 Cases in People So Far, 90% Are Kids

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Thousands of state and county fairs are ongoing. At this point, the CDC's plan to stop the outbreak is to warn fairgoers to avoid pig contact. The official CDC advice:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and running water before and after exposure to animals.
  • Never eat, drink, or put things in your mouth in animal areas.
  • Children younger than 5, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions (like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems, and neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions) are at high risk from serious complications if they get influenza. These people should consider avoiding exposure to pigs and swine barns this summer, especially if sick pigs have been identified.
  • If you have animals -- including swine -- watch them for signs of illness and call a veterinarian if you suspect they might be sick.
  • Avoid close contact with animals that look or act ill.
  • Avoid contact with pigs if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms. If you can't avoid pig contact when you are sick, wear protective clothing, gloves, and a mask that covers your mouth and nose.
  • If you've been near pigs and see a doctor for flu-like symptoms, tell the doctor about your contact.
  • If you develop flu symptoms, especially after pig contact, get treated right away. Both Tamiflu and Relenza are effective against H3N2v swine flu.

Just in case the H3N2v bug learns to spread easily among people, the CDC has developed a vaccine. Clinical trials are planned.

Meanwhile, as fall approaches, the CDC advises people to plan to get their seasonal flu vaccine. It may not protect against H3N2v, but human flu bugs are certain to start circulating before the 2012-2013 flu season is over.

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