Thursday, August 2, 2012

Swine flu infects people

The U.S. Centres for Disease Control is keeping a close watch on an outbreak of flu that it has traced to pigs at LaPorte County Fair in Indiana.

Genetic testing has confirmed that four sick people had the same strain of flu – H3N2 – as pigs that were at the fair in July.

More recently, at least 41 people, including some children, in Butler County, Ohio, have come down with flu and the Centres for Disease Control is checking to determine whether it’s the same strain.

Usually this strain is no more virulent than the typical type of flu that strikes people, but when flu passes from one species to another, such as from birds to pigs to poultry, health officials are concerned about the potential for a deadly strain to emerge.

In 2009, the world was on high alert for H1N1 flu that did pass from birds to pigs to people and killed at least 18,000 people, mainly in Asia.

There were also cases in Ontario at that time of flu passing among birds, pigs and people.