Closeup of group f hogs
HEALTHY HOG: Swine influenza at Maryland county fairs is believed to be contained. But regional pork producers have been alerted.

Swine flu pops up at Maryland fairs

Maryland’s Ag Department quarantined hogs after swine influenza A was confirmed at three county fairs. Outbreak believed contained.

On Saturday, Maryland State Veterinarian Dr. Michael Radebaugh inspected pigs already under quarantine at the Charles County, Md., fairgrounds as a result of a swine influenza A (H3N2 subtype) outbreak. Then on Saturday, another group of 11 sick pigs was discovered at The Great Frederick Fair at Frederick, Md.

Except for market hogs destined for slaughter, all swine at the fairgrounds were quarantined and won’t be released until seven days after the last pig showed signs of influenza illness.

Maryland Department of Agriculture requests pork producers to report sick pigs at 410-841-5810 or after office hours at 410-841-5971. Or call the same numbers if you have questions.

Close proximity to Delaware, Pennsylvania and the Virginias suggests that pork producers in those states should also be on the lookout for swine flu symptoms — fever and coughing. For more background on swine flu, see:

 Centers For Disease Control: cdc.gov/flu/swineflu/index.htm.

 USDA APHIS: www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_health/2013/faq_swine_flu.pdf.

Human risks minimal
Influenza viruses don’t affect the safety of properly cooked pork. And it’s rare but possible for the “swine flu” virus to spread to people, according to Maryland Ag Department officials. Most commonly, it happens in people directly exposed to infected pigs (e.g., children handling pigs at fairs or hog industry workers).

Human symptoms are similar to non-swine influenza and can include fever, cough and sore throat. Health officials recommend that people with influenza-like illness contact their health care provider and inform them if they have had pig contact within the past seven days.

Source: Maryland Department of Agriculture

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