A mysterious flu has felled three children who attended the Washington County Agricultural Fair in Southwestern Pennsylvania the week of Aug. 13-20.
One child has already recovered from illness and the other two are currenty recovering. Testing has shown that infections contain a genetic component of the H1N1 virus, which caused a deadly pandemic in 2009.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health said in a statement that the virus does not appear to be spreading from person-to-person. Influenza A viruses are found in humans and many animals, including pigs and birds. This particular virus is unique from other previous H3N2 human infections because of its H1N1 component.
Currently, we don't have any evidence to support that this novel influenza A virus will lead to a pandemic, the statement continued. As with any new influenza A virus, public health officials are working to learn more about the source of this particular strain and to determine how/if it can be spread from person to person.
We're not telling people to avoid public venues or fairs, said Pennsylvania DOH Secretary Dr. Eli Avila. But, until we complete our investigation, we want to make sure that the public is aware and is taking the proper precautions to protect their health.
The best precuation against contracting and spreading the flu is frequent handwashing: Hands should be scrubbed under hot water for at least 20 seconds, and people should avoid touching their mouths, eyes, or nose if there is any chance they have been exposed. Of course, anyone with symptoms should avoid contact with other people as much as possible until they have recovered.
Primary symptoms include fever, lethargy (extreme tiredness), lack of appetite and coughing. Some people may experience a runny nose, sore throat, eye irritation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Symptoms would be similar to that of seasonal influenza, and would include fever, lethargy (extreme tiredness), lack of appetite and coughing. Other influenza symptoms may include a runny nose, sore throat, eye irritation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Anyone who attended the Washington County Fair and has flu-like symptoms should contact their local health care provider or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.