Going to a county fair in NJ? CDC says watch out for this new virus
Amid peak county fair season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed the year’s first human infection with a flu virus that usually spreads in pigs.
The person who was infected had direct contact with pigs at an agricultural fair in West Virginia, the CDC confirmed on Aug. 5.
The individual — who was younger than 18 — was not hospitalized and is recovering, health officials said. Pigs at the same fair tested positive for flu A.
While saying that public health risk from these types of infections was low, the CDC recommended precautions that include frequent hand washing and not eating or drinking in the area around pig exhibits at seasonal fairs.
County fairs have already happened this summer in Monmouth and Middlesex counties, while the New Jersey State Fair in Sussex County is wrapping up this weekend — along with fairs in Atlantic, Cumberland and Passaic counties.
Swine flu viruses change constantly, much like flu viruses in humans and other animals, the CDC said, and pigs can also be infected by avian flu and human flu viruses.
In 2009, a new H1N1 virus with genes of avian, swine and human origin emerged to cause a global flu pandemic.
That strain of flu has since been included in the annual flu vaccine.
Since roughly 2005, a total of 501 variant flu virus infections (of different flu A virus subtypes) have been identified in the U.S. and reported to CDC ranging from a high of 321 variant flu virus infections during the 2011-2012 flu season to a low of one during the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons.
During the 2011-2012 season, more than 90% of those infections were associated with attendance and exposure at agricultural fairs, the CDC added.