Are you planning a trip to an agricultural fair or petting zoo? Before you go, it is important to learn about the unique flu virus (H3N2v) that is infecting some people—mainly children—who have had contact with pigs, often at county fairs.
How to Reduce Your Child’s Risk of H3N2v:
Click here for CDC issued guidance for “high risk” people attending fairs where pigs might be present. These people should avoid pigs and swine barns at fairs this year, so as to limit their exposure to this virus.
To protect children, parents and other adult caregivers should do the following and help children do the same.
- Avoid close contact with pigs, if possible.
- Talk with your child’s camp or child care center about any upcoming trips to places where pigs may be present.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and running water, including before and after touching animals. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub until hands can be washed.
- Do not eat, drink, or put anything in your mouth when visiting animal areas.
- Do not take toys, pacifiers, cups, bottles, strollers, or similar items into animal areas.
- Avoid contact with those who are ill, especially when they have recently been around pigs.
- Keep children home if they have flu-like symptoms.
- Make sure your child drinks plenty of liquids to avoid getting dehydrated.
- Encourage and help your child to rest.
- Stay informed because information is continually being updated. Know what’s going on in your area and follow the recommendations of public health authorities.
Know the Signs & Symptoms of H3N2v:
Symptoms of H3N2v infection are similar to those of seasonal flu viruses. Contact your child’s pediatrician if you have questions, and especially if your child:
- Is younger than 3 months and has a fever (rectal temperature of 100.4°F [38°C] or higher)
- Is sick and has a serious chronic health condition, including lung or heart problems, asthma, diabetes, kidney problems, a weakened immune system, or a serious neurologic or neuromuscular condition (not ADHD or autism)
- Is more sleepy than usual or not waking up or acting normally
- Has little or no energy to play or keep up with daily activities
- Is not drinking enough fluids to make urine
- Has trouble breathing or is breathing fast
- Is very irritable and cannot be comforted
- Has skin color that is blue or gray
Frequently Asked Questions:
Will this season’s flu vaccine protect my child against H3N2v?
No. Neither last year’s nor this year’s seasonal flu vaccine will protect against H3N2v. Adults may have some immunity against this virus from the past, but young children probably do not.
Seasonal flu vaccines protect against seasonal influenza viruses, but do NOT protect against this specific infection of H3N2v. It is recommended that all children, adolescents and adults still receive the seasonal flu vaccine this season to protect them against seasonal flu.
The CDC is working to track the spread and impact of this unique H3N2v virus. For more information about the flu vaccine, click here.
How is H3N2v spread?
The H3N2v virus is transmitted from pigs to humans through the air (when an infected pig coughs or sneezes), or by touch (when a person touches an infected surface and then touches their own eyes, nose, or mouth). Human infections are most likely to occur when people are near live infected pigs, such as working with them in barns or at livestock exhibits at fairs. At this time, there is no sign that the virus is being spread from person to person.
What about eating pork or pork products?
People cannot get the H3N2v virus by eating pork or pork products.
Parents and caregivers who have questions about their child’s flu-like illness should contact their pediatrician. Updates and more information about local H3N2v outbreaks are available at www.flu.gov or www.cdc.gov.