LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT) – The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that two Arkansans have been infected with a strain of the swine flu after having contact with pigs.
Dr. Dirk Haselow, State Epidemiologist, said an animal variant of the flu virus is detected in humans a few times a year.
"Viruses of this type typically cause only mild illness in those affected and, in contrast to seasonal flu, are not easily transmitted from person to person," Haselow said.
The Arkansas Department of Health report both patients have fully recovered. The department has monitored patient contacts and has found no evidence of human to human spread.
The movement of the virus, according to the ADH, can go back and forth between animals and humans when humans are close to live swine. This can occur in barns and at livestock exhibits.
The department said there is no evidence that the flu can be transmitted by eating pork and pork products that are properly cooked and handled
To prevent the spread of other infections from animals, the ADH suggests following precautions are recommended:
- Wash your hands often with soap and running water. Particularly after contact with animals. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Never eat, drink or put things in your mouth in areas where animals are present, and don't take food or drink into areas where animals are housed.
- Never take toys, pacifiers, spill-proof cups, baby bottles, strollers or similar items into areas with animals.
- Avoid close contact with animals that look or act ill.
- Children younger than 5 years, people 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions (like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune and nervous systems) are at higher risk for serious complications of infections. These people should consider avoiding exposure to pigs and other animals at petting zoos and barns during fair season.