COLUMBUS — With 98 confirmed cases of the H3N2 virus in the state of Ohio, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that at-risk individuals avoid exposure to pigs and swine barns during this fair season.
At-risk individuals are children younger than 5 years old, people ages 65 years and older, pregnant women and people with certain chronic conditions, such as asthma and other lung diseases, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems and neurological or neurodevelopmental disorders.
The CDC says the virus does not spread easily from person-to-person, but limited human-to-human infection has occurred.
The number of confirmed cases are listed by county:
Ashland, one; Athens, eight; Butler, 17; Champaign, 15; Clark, three; Fairfield, one; Franklin, four; Gallia, 11; Greene, six; Hamilton, three; Henry, five; Huron, three; Jackson, one; Licking, two; Medina, one; Monroe, two; Montgomery, two; Morrow, one; Preble, one; Richland, two; Ross, seven; Union, one; and Warren, one.
Those with confirmed cases of the H3N2 virus are between the ages of 6 months and 51 years old. To date, several of the confirmed cases in Ohio were hospitalized, but they have since been treated and released, according to a press release from the Ohio Department of Health.
At the time of the release, surveillance indicates that the individuals most likely became ill with the flu virus after exposure to swine, ODH says.
With county fairs running into the first week of October, the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the ODH are reminding residents and visitors that fair attendance is safe. Those attending the fair should remember:
— Wash hands frequently with soap and running water before and after exposure to animals.
— Never eat, drink or put things in the mouth in animal areas and do not take food or drink into animal areas.
— Leave baby strollers parked outside of areas with pigs.
— Young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older and people with weakened immune systems should be extra careful around animals.
Those who have animals, including swine, should watch them for signs of illness and call a veterinarian if sickness is suspected. Additionally, people with animals should avoid close contact with them when animals look or act ill, when possible, and humans should avoid contact with swine when experiencing flu-like symptoms.