Health Officials Investigating Flu Virus Found In Pigs


UPDATED: Friday August 3, 2012 6:14 PM

Health officials and the state veterinarian are investigating a flu virus found in pigs this week.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture ordered two pigs to be sent home from the Ohio State Fair over concerns about a strain of flu Thursday.

The Department of Agriculture said the pigs tested positive for the H3N2 variant influenza, a strain that can infect both pigs and humans.

The precautions come after 41 people, all but two of them children, were infected with the same type of influenza after contact with pigs at the Butler County Fair last week. Butler County Health Director Patricia Berg told 10TV News that nearly everyone who was sick was involved with caring for the animals.

Berg said that pigs get flu just like people and can pass along the virus.

The Schiffs are proud pig owners, and brought them to the Ohio State Fair to show them off.

"We try to make sure our pigs live a better life than we do most days," said Mike Schiff.

The care is even more important this year because of the pig health concerns.

Health officials insist the illness is not the Swine Flu.

"We have not had much flu issues at any other fairs in the past," said Ohio State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey. "This year is an exceptional year."

Forshey blamed the heat and dry weather for the outbreak. He said this is a respiratory virus and cannot be passed on by eating meat.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture also added hand washing stations and signs warning people not to bring food or drinks into the swine barn at the Ohio State Fair as an additional safety precaution.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture said it is asking other county fairs to take similar precautions.

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