The Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland Department of Agriculture are investigating 11 cases of pigs infected with influenza A, otherwise known as swine flu. It’s not yet clear if the strain can be transmitted to humans.
The pigs were recently exhibited at The Great Frederick Fair which closed its swine barn last Saturday after concerns about a sick pig arose. The Frederick News-Post reported last weekend that health officials swiftly quarantined the pigs upon observing a pig with a 106-degree fever. At the same time, a sick child, also showing flu-like symptoms, was reported at the Frederick Memorial Hospital. The child had been around the pigs at the fair, according to their parents.
The pigs will not be released from quarantine until seven days after the last pig shows signs of illness, which is the standard for these cases.
This second outbreak of swine flu comes after 107 pigs at the Charles County Fairgrounds were quarantined due to detection of swine flu on September 19. State Veterinarian Dr. Michael Radebaugh, who inspected the pigs, announced on September 22 that the swine flu outbreak for Charles County had been contained. 47 pigs from Charles County were sent to market within 48 hours of quarantine and 60 pigs appear healthy, with no signs of influenza.
Health officials recommend that anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms contact their doctors and inform them if they’ve had contact with pigs within the past 7 days. Influenza viruses do not affect pork if safely cooked.