Brought to you by WBIW News and Network Indiana
Last updated on Thursday, August 9, 2012
(UNDATED) - More than 100 Hoosiers now have confirmed cases of the swine flu, and the Indiana Department of Health expects that number to keep growing.
Kent Edahl, of WISH TV, reports in all, 113 cases have now been confirmed in 18 counties across Indiana. There are still no confirmed cases in Marion County.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Greg Larkin said all of the cases so far have resulted from direct contact between humans and pigs, but he said that could change.
"There is a concern that this virus, which appears right now to be from swine to human, can genetically convert as they always do one way or another to become human to human transmitted," Larkin said.
The Swine Barn at the Indiana State Fair was cleared on Monday, after several pigs were found to have elevated temperatures. There are still some pigs reaming at the barn, but they are monitored regularly.
"I heard that they send most of the ones home who were pretty sick, so that made me feel better," said Amanda Leas, who visited the swine barn with her family on Wednesday.
Leas said she's stressing the importance of good hygiene with her children, especially because her daughter got the same virus, Influenza Type A, last summer.
"She just ran a really high fever for several days and it would never break so we took her to the hospital and they tested her and it came back positive for swine flu," Leas said.
"It's a very mild virus," Dr. Larkin said. "We're seeing people having common symptoms flu but really nothing terribly serious, and we hope and anticipate that's exactly how it will remain."
The concern is that there is still no vaccine for the new strain of flu. Though it remained relatively isolated last summer, the Indiana Department of Health is trying to get the word out as it continues to spread. Confirmed cases have jumped ten-fold in just a day. There were 14 cases in six counties reported on Tuesday. On Wednesday it jumped to 113 cases in 18 counties.
Doctors said the best advice to safeguard yourself and your family is to practice good hygiene especially if you're coming into contact with animals.
It's a message that is reinforced with signs and hand sanitizer at the state fair. In many cases it's easier to find than the pigs themselves.
"Everywhere you look there are all kinds of signs posted and I've never seen so much hand sanitizer everywhere," said Mary Mouradin, who visited the barn with her daughter. "I think they've done a great job."
"It's kind of scary just because I know how (my daughter) was," Leas said. "But I just make sure they use a lot of hand sanitizer and wash their hands, especially if they are going to be around the animals."
The Indiana State Department of Health has set up a call center to answer the general public's questions regarding variant influenza A. The call center is open from 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday. The call center telephone number is (877) 826-0011.
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