Michigan fairgoer catches SWINE FLU after contact with sick pig


Just when you thought it was safe to go outside! Michigan fairgoer catches SWINE FLU after contact with sick pig

  • Individual came down with the illness after visiting the Berrien County Youth Fair
  • Symptoms were not revealed, but scientists said the H1N2 strain is more dangerous in youngsters under five years and older adults
  • It spreads from pigs to people, but only in rare cases jumps between humans 

A fairgoer in Michigan has tested positive for swine flu after coming into contact with a sick pig, health officials in the state have revealed.

The unidentified individual came down with the illness after visiting the Berrien County Youth Fair, which showcases stalls from children aged five to 20 years old.

Their symptoms were not revealed, but scientists say the H1N2 strain they had is more dangerous in young children and older adults.

It can be passed from ill pigs to humans, but only in rare cases spreads between humans.

The diagnosis marks the sixth human case of swine flu in the U.S. this year, after one was spotted in an under-18 in Oregon, one in Ohio and three in West Virginia. The strain is different from the H1N1 swine flu that triggered the 2009 outbreak which led to 274,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 deaths in America alone.

A fairgoer in Michigan has tested positive for swine flu after coming into contact with an ill pig. They are the sixth case confirmed so far this year. (Stock image) 

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services officials have not revealed the age or sex of the individual, or whether they had any underling conditions.

They attended the fair between August 15 and 20 this year, and had the infection confirmed about three weeks later on September 9.

No other cases have yet been linked to the show at this time.

But fairgoers in Michigan are now being advised to avoid the events — scheduled to continue until October — if they are unwell, and not to eat or drink around livestock.

What was the 2009 swine flu outbreak? 

A strain of influenza spread from pigs to humans in 2009.

But after the transmission it quickly began to spread between people — unlike with other swine flus — leading to a major global outbreak.

The first case of the strain — H1N1 — was detected in a visitor to a fairground in California.

But it quickly spread across the whole U.S. and was spotted in many other countries.

By the end of the outbreak an estimated one in five people globally had been infected.

In the U.S. alone it was thought to have infected 60million people, and led to 274,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 deaths.

People who catch swine flu suffer symptoms similar to the seasonal cold, including a fever, cough and runny nose.

But scientists say the disease may be more dangerous in children less than five years old and adults over 65.

About 0.02 percent of patients died from the disease, estimates suggest. 

Swine flu surges in pigs around the fall months, raising the risk of the disease spilling over into humans.

People who become infected tend to suffer similar symptoms to seasonal flu, including fever, cough, runny nose and body aches.

But cases are normally mild and clear up on their own in a few weeks. There is little risk of death.

Scientists say, however, that children under five, people over 65, pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions are more at risk of complications if they become infected.

Five human cases of swine flu were confirmed in America last month, with each linked back to contact with pigs at agricultural fairs.

The infection in Oregon and one of the three in West Virginia were both in individuals less than 18 years old.

Revealing the cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said: ‘Sporadic human infections with these flu viruses that usually spread in pigs happen every year, often in the agricultural fair setting, which are typically held in the summer and fall.

‘While these types of infections usually cause mild illness, they are concerning because they can cause severe illness… and because of their potential to cause a flu pandemic.’

A major swine flu outbreak was triggered in 2009 after a mutated version of the virus — strain H1N1 — spilled over into humans.

In the end about one in five people globally became infected. For the U.S. there were estimated to have been about 60million cases alongside 275,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 deaths.

But the case fatality rate — the proportion of patients that died from the disease — was thought to have been around 0.03 percent. For comparison, when COVID first struck it had a fatality rate of up to three percent.

It was not clear what fatality rate was attributed to H1N2, but it is thought to be lower than that in the 2009 pandemic version.

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