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Published August 04, 2014, 05:02 PM

Swine flu found at ND State Fair

Three pigs tested positive for swine flu at the North Dakota State Fair, according to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.

By: April Baumgarten , Forum News Service

MINOT, N.D. — Three pigs tested positive for swine flu at the North Dakota State Fair, according to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.

The state Department of Health and Department of Agriculture confirmed Friday that the pigs carried the H3N2 virus strain, which can be transmitted to humans. The pigs appeared to be healthy when they entered the fairgrounds but became sick while at the fair. After being tested, the pigs were removed by their owners, who are from North Dakota.

The Department of Agriculture inspects all animals displayed at the State Fair, according to a release. This is the first time an influenza virus has been found in swine at the State Fair.

The pigs have recovered from the incident, state veterinarian Dr. Susan Keller says. The health division is not sure which strain the pigs contracted, she says, adding the virus’s source has been undetermined.

“We don’t know if pigs were the source,” Keller says. “It could have been a human walking in the barn. It could have been transmitted from human to pig.”

There was no evidence that people have become ill as a result of exposure to the three pigs.

It is important to note that the virus can be transmitted between humans and pigs, Keller says. Strains of swine flu can be transmitted through respiratory droplets created when infected pigs cough, much like when humans transmit the seasonal flu to others. Swine flu has not been proven to be transmissible to people through eating food properly handled for consumption.

People should wash their hands frequently and avoid contact with those who are ill. They should also avoid eating or drinking anything near animals. The health department urges those who work with pigs to take precautions to avoid the spread of illness.

If you experience flu-like symptoms — fever, cough, sore throat, body aches or headaches — after contact with animals, you should report that to your primary health care provider.

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