State officials urge shots for pigs to prevent swine flu outbreak

2013-02-15T12:00:00Z State officials urge shots for pigs to prevent swine flu outbreakBILL NOVAK | bnovak@madison.com madison.com

State health and agriculture officials are urging farmers to get their show pigs inoculated against the flu to prevent an outbreak of swine flu that hit fairs in Wisconsin in 2012.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the state Department of Health Services, UW-Extension and the Wisconsin Pork Producers Association are recommending swine get flu shots before being put on display at county fairs throughout the summer, or for the state fair in August.

Swine flu, officially known as the H3N2 influenza virus, affected more than a dozen people in Wisconsin in 2012, with all the cases linked to swine being exhibited at county fairs or the state fair.

There were 276 cases of swine flu in the U.S. in 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms of swine flu include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing, a runny nose, sore throat, eye irritation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

The recommendations are being made to show organizers so they can manage the animal and public health risks associated with the flu virus.

They include:

  • All swine should be vaccinated prior to the opening day of an exhibition, but no more than 120 days before.
  • If possible, exhibition organizers should limit the amount of time swine are congregated to no more than 72 hours, and to make sure to wait seven days between shows.
  • Pigs should be observed at least 2 to 3 times daily for signs of disease or infection, and organizers should have a plan in place to deal with sick pigs.

The CDC said there's no evidence of the H3N2 virus being transmitted through pork or other products derived from pigs.

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