Swine flu cases decrease; State Fair officials remain vigilant


The risk of contracting swine flu at a fair has decreased nationwide, but Minnesota State Fair officials are keeping a close eye on pigs and the people who show them, MPR reports.

Last year, 309 people were sickened when the H3N2v strain of the virus filtered through state fairs in a dozen states, including Minnesota, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. But this year, it has been just 16 people who went to fairs in Indiana, Illinois and Ohio, the CDC says. Fourteen of those cases were in Indiana.

The strain has not been detected in people in Minnesota this year. Here's more info on the strain from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention.

It's very rare, but swine flu can be passed from animals to humans, and there's not yet a vaccine for the strain. So health officials are closely watching the pigs for any signs of illness. But they also stress that the risk is small, and that the fair and its animals are an important part of Minnesota's culture.

Gone this year are signs posted at the fair last year that advised certain people to stay out of the animal barns, including children under age 5, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems, MPR reports.

Here's more information about swine flu and its symptoms from the Mayo Clinic.

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CDC confirms swine flu case linked to Minnesota State Fair

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.

Swine flu infections reported at Wisconsin fair

Wisconsin health officials report two cases of people infected with a new strain of swine flu. Both people are connected to the Wisconsin State Fair — a worker and a swine exhibitor, the Associated Press is reporting. This news comes on the heels of a report from a University of Minnesota scientist who found swine flu in a significant number of pigs at the Minnesota State Fair in 2009.

Another swine flu case linked to Dakota County animal market

Another case of a new strain of swine flu has has been linked to a live animal market in Dakota County. The second case involves a man in his twenties that recently purchased a pig from that market.

More cases of swine flu linked to fair's pig barn

Two more cases of presumptive swine flu have been linked to the Minnesota State Fair. The Minnesota Department of Health says this is the first human infection of the H3n2v strain linked to the fair. The other cases involving the same strain were linked to a live animal market in Dakota County.