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Strain Issues Swine Flu Caution

Folks in Indiana are not the only ones concerned about a new strain of swine flu.  The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals are both monitoring reports of influenza virus H3N2v from county fairs in other states. So far, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 153 humans infected with the virus — 120 of those in Indiana, 31 in Ohio, and 1 each in Illinois and Hawaii. Ag and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain says, with fall livestock exhibits at festivals and fairs right around the corner here in Louisiana, anyone dealing with pigs should take precautionary measures to ensure their safety.  Here are some tips from his office:

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Wash your hands often with soap and running water before and after exposure to pigs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. o

Never eat, drink or put things in your mouth in areas where pigs are located, and don’t take food or drink into these areas.

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Never take toys, pacifiers, spill-proof cups, baby bottles, strollers or similar items into areas where pigs are located.

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Avoid close contact with pigs that look or act ill.

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Avoid contact with pigs if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms. Avoid contact for 7 days after symptoms begin or until you have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, whichever is longer.

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Watch your pigs for signs of illness and call a veterinarian if you suspect they might be sick.

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Children younger than 5 years, people 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions (like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems, and neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions) are at high risk from serious complications if they get influenza. These people should consider avoiding exposure to pigs and swine barns this fair season, especially if sick pigs have been identified

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