April 16, 2014

New swine flu strain comes to Wisconsin

We haven’t heard about swine flu for several years but its back. Two cases of a new strain have been confirmed in Wisconsin. Tom Haupt with the state Department of Health and Human Services says it’s now called H3N2v.

AUDIO: Haupt on new strain (:23)

The two infected individuals are an adolescent who dealt with pigs at the Wisconsin State Fair and an adult who reported no direct swine contact. Neither had to go to the hospital, but health officials are concerned those with lower immune systems could develop worse complications from the flu. Officials are also concerned whether there can be human-to-human transmission of the illness.

“We encourage people to enjoy all their local fairs have to offer this summer, but to take precautions to reduce the chances of getting H3N2v influenza,” Dr. Henry Anderson, state health officer, said in a statement.

 Among the precautions listed: wash your hands often with soap and running water before and after exposure to pigs; never eat, drink or put things in your mouth in pig areas and don’t take food or drink into pig areas; and avoid close contact with pigs that look or act ill.

Since July, national health officials have reported more than 150 cases of the illness in the Midwest, and in Hawaii.

John Colbert-WIBA contributed to this report