State Fair preps for H3N2 after 1st confirmed case in Minn. - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

State Fair preps for H3N2 after 1st confirmed case in Minn.

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The Minnesota Department of Health is reporting the first confirmed -- and possibly the second case -- of the new strain of swine flu after a preschooler and an older sibling came down with symptoms after visiting a live-animal market.

Neither child has been to the hospital after falling ill in Dakota County on Aug. 10, and so far, only the younger child has tested positive.

With the Minnesota State Fair set to start on Thursday, many people have expressed concern about the flu. FOX 9 News spoke with Joni Scheftel, the state's public health veterinarian, about the symptoms and risks.

Fair officials released a statement on Monday explaining that there will be several procedures in place to prevent the spread of illnesses, including the following:

  • Several hand washing stations will be available in and around the livestock barns.
  • Signs will warn guests not to eat and drink inside the barns
  • Veterinarians will evaluate all pigs competing at the Minnesota State Fair when the arrive and will continue to monitor their health during their stay.

An independent consumer protection consulting firm was hired to assess the fair's livestock facilities over two days, and the study concluded that the current protection measures are sound, clear and consistent.

Experts say those without chronic health conditions should have no problem visiting the pig barns at the State Fair as long as they are careful not to eat or drink anything inside and wash their hands upon leaving.

More than 90 percent of H3N2 cases nationwide have been found in children, though only a handful have been hospitalized.

While the flu can spread from pigs to humans by contact with an infected animal or its environment, it cannot be contracted by eating pork.

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