(September 6, 2012 Stillwater, OK) – Local fairs and shows are seeing an increase in H3N2 influenza (swine flu). Pigs are commonly infected with influenza viruses that are usually different from human influenza viruses. While rare, influenza can spread from pigs to people and from people to pigs.
The Centers for Disease Control offers the following precautions against H3N2 influenza:
- Wash your hands often with soap and running water before and after exposure to pigs; if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub
- Do not take or consume food or drink or put things in your mouth in pig areas
- Do not take toys, pacifiers, spill-proof cups, baby bottles, strollers, etc., into pig areas
- Avoid contact with pigs that look or act ill
- Avoid contact with pigs if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms
- Watch your pigs for signs of illness and call a veterinarian if you suspect they might be sick
- Children younger than 5 years, people 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions (asthma, heart disease, weakened immune systems) are at high risk from serious complications if they get influenza
- If you must come in contact with pigs, wear protective clothing, gloves, masks, etc., cover coughs and sneezes, and wash your hands often.
The Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences is the only veterinary college in Oklahoma. One of 28 veterinary colleges in the United States, it is fully accredited by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association. The center’s Boren Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital is open to the public and provides routine and specialized care for small and large animals. It also offers 24-hour emergency care and is certified by the American Animal Hospital Association. For more information, visit www.cvhs.okstate.edu or call (405) 744-7000.