LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – State health officials said 8 cases of swine flu have spread across Michigan and they all have one thing in common…county fairs.
6 News spoke to a medical expert who tells us how pigs and annual summer fairs can sometimes spread the virus.
County fairs…all fun and games until someone gets sick.
“Over the past month or so we’d actually been first receiving reports of sick pigs,” Chief Medical Executive of the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services Dr. Eden Wells said.
According to Dr. Wells, since 2011 pigs with swine flu is quite common. This summer in particular.
“It’s been a really hot, hot, humid summer and the pigs that come to the fair are getting stressed and just like you or I when they get stressed, they’re prone to the flu,” Wells stated.
Dr. Wells says if people come in close contact with these animals, there’s a possibility they could get swine flu as well and that’s exactly what happened in Michigan.
“We have 8 cases across about 3 counties that have been diagnosed with the swine flu,” said Wells.
Those infected came in contact with sick pigs at county fairs in Ingham County, Cass County in Southwestern Michigan and Muskegon County along lake Michigan.
“There were some folks that actually came and a few days afterwards developed the sore throat, cough, fever just feels like any other flu,” Wells mentioned.
One person was hospitalized and has been released and five of the cases occurred in Ingham County.
Unfortunately, there’s no vaccine to cure swine flu and if infected you have to let the virus run its course.
6 News tried contacting Ingham County fair officials for comment today and they have not returned our telephone calls.
Health officials have some advice to help protect yourself from the spread of illness at fairs:
Avoid pigs and swine barns if you’re at high risk, or have a compromised immune system,
Don’t eat or drink in livestock barns or show rings,
Don’t take toys, pacifiers, baby bottles, strollers or similar items into pig areas,
And of course, wash your hands often,
Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and stay home from work of school if you do get sick.