Health Dept. Reports First Case of Swine Flu in Minnesota
A new influenza strain that people acquire through contact with pigs has caused its first reported illness in Minnesota, the state health department reported on Monday, Aug. 20.
One case of variant H3N2 influenza was confirmed in a pre-school-age child who lives in the Twin Cities. The child's older sibling is being considered a "probable" case, the health department said, because of the sibling's history of flu-like illness and connection to the younger child.
Both children developed symptoms of the illness two days after visiting a live animal market in Dakota County on Aug. 10. Neither child required hospitalization, and both are recovering.
More than 200 cases of variant H3N2 influenza have been reported in eight states since the beginning of the year. Most have occurred in children who were exhibiting pigs at fairs, or people who visited swine exhibits at fairs. The illness tends to be relatively mild.
"There is no reason to discourage people from patronizing live animal markets -- or visiting the upcoming State Fair, local county fairs or other venues where pigs may be present -- because of concerns about (the new flu)," the Minnesota Department of Health said in a news release.
Live animal markets let consumers choose and buy pigs, sheep or goats that are then killed, processed on-site and taken home for consumption. There are about five live animal markets in Minnesota, including three in the metro area, said Michael Schommer, spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.