American is hospitalized with SWINE FLU after touching infected pigs on farm in Pennsylvania, CDC reveals

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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A Pennsylvania resident is the first human to contract swine flu this year after coming into contact with infected pigs, the CDC revealed.

The health agency said a patient contracted the influenza A H1N2 variant that normally circulates in pigs. 

The infection, known as bird flu or swine flu, was detected in a person living near a pig farm in Pennsylvania who had direct contact with the animals.

The CDC reported the patient was hospitalized and has made a full recovery from their illness and there have been no reports of transmission of the virus among humans.

Influenza A is endemic among pigs but rarely infects humans. However, in 2009, a strain of influenza A caused a swine flu epidemic, infecting more than 59million Americans and killing thousands.  

People can catch swine flu from contact with infected pigs directly and the strains that infect humans are often blends of avian, swine and human flu viruses 

While this is the first reported in 2024, the US may see a handful of swine flu cases annually, with three infections in 2023 – though it is rare.

Two of those patients had attended different agricultural fairs in Michigan and had direct exposure to pigs. 

Both of them experienced mild illness and fully recovered with no evidence they transmitted the infections to others. 

A third was a child from Montana who had also visited a fair. 

The minor ‘sought healthcare’ in August 2023, the CDC said, but was not hospitalized. 

There are several strains of swine flu, including H1N2 and the 2009 epidemic-causing H1N1. 

Infections rarely spread from animal to person, but the 2009 outbreak was the product of the virus mutating to become capable of infecting humans and causing illness.

The H1N1 strain had combined bird, swine and human influenza A viruses.

The outbreak disproportionately affected children and teens who were more susceptible to illness so severe it required hospitalization.

A report from the World Health Organization found in that year, the number of infections in the US reached 59million with 265,000 hospitalized and 12,000 dead.

People can catch swine flu from direct contact with infected pigs and the strains that infect them are often blends of avian, swine and human flu viruses.

The symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of other influenza viruses and include fever, aches, chills, cough, headache, nausea and fatigue. Cases are normally mild and clear up on their own in a few weeks with little risk of death.

To avoid infections, the CDC recommends avoiding contact with pigs, as well as avoiding drinking and eating around the animals. If you own pigs, it is also important to monitor them for signs of illness, the health organization added. 

People with direct contact with the animals, such as farmers and slaughterhouse workers, are most at risk of contracting the zoonotic disease.  

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