Hendricks County is one of 23 counties across the state that has confirmed a case of variant influenza A (H3N2v).
Though officials are unable to confirm when and where the disease was contracted, they are stressing prevention.
”The Hendricks County Health Department is working with the ISDH to monitor the situation,” said Tammy Brinkman, director of nursing with the Hendricks County Health Department. “We would like to stress prevention.”
Type A influenza viruses commonly infect many species of animals, including swine and water birds, causing regular outbreaks among these animals. Type A influenza viruses can easily change, creating new virus strains, as well. A virus that normally circulates in swine, but can be found in humans is referred to as “variant.”
The State Department of Health said that variant influenza is not transmissible by eating pork or pork products. They said that most people who become infected are in direct exposure with infected pigs.
The symptoms for variant influenza A include fever, cough, sore throat, and a runny nose. Other symptoms can include body aches, chills, nausea, and diarrhea. Symptoms can last for three to eight days.
The Indiana State Department of Health has offered several tips to prevent H3N2v including:
- Wash hands frequently, including before and after touching animals;
- Never eat, drink, or put anything in your mouth when visiting an area with animals;
- Older adults, pregnant women, young children, and people with weakened immune systems should be extra careful around animals;
- Cough or sneeze into a sleeve or elbow;
- If possible, avoid contact with those who are ill; and
- Stay home if you develop influenza symptoms and contact your health care provider.
In addition to Hendricks County, H3N2v has been confirmed in Bartholomew, Delaware, Greene, Hamilton, Jackson, Jennings, Johnson, Kosciusko, LaPorte, Lawrence, Marion, Marshall, Monroe, Morgan, Owen, Porter, Scott, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Washington, White, and Whitley counties.
The Indiana State Department of Health has set up a call center to answer questions about H3N2v for the general public. The center is open from 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday. The number is 826-0011.
For more information about influenza, visit the website at www.StateHealth.in.gov.