Headed to the fair? Wash your hands after the pig barn

With fair season in full swing, an increase in swine flu cases – including 10 new cases linked to an Ohio fair – has the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nervous. The agency is warning Americans to be especially careful around state and county fairs this summer.
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If you are planning a trip to a county or state fair, the CDC wants you to wash your hands when you come out of the pig barn.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that with the fair season in full swing, visitors should avoid taking food and drinks into barns and to wash up after they're near animals, the Associated Press reports. Pregnant women, young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are especially at risk for developing the flu strain, the CDC says.

With 16 new human cases in the last three weeks – 12 in the last week alone – an outbreak of a variant strain of swine flu is giving CDC officials the jitters, WebMD says. What worries officials is that the new flu, officially called variant type A H3N2 or H3N2v, carries the M gene from the human H1N1 pandemic flu bug. This gene makes it easier for flu bugs to infect humans and spread among them.

The CDC says 10 cases of swine flu occurred after people went to a fair in Ohio.

Only 29 human cases of a new strain of "swine" flu have been identified in two years, but the CDC is making sure it's prepared should the H3N2 strain become more widespread, Philly.com reports.

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The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed that one case of swine flu has been linked to the Minnesota State Fair and two possible additional cases are pending. Minnesota Public Radio reports that in the three cases, people were either exhibiting hogs or were in the swine barn at the state fair before falling ill. The strain is different that the one that has caused 289 illnesses and one death nationwide so far this year.

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