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Swine flu detected in 2 Michigan counties, CDC confirms

Pascal Debrunner

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the first two human cases of the swine flu in Michigan this year on Friday.

According to the report, the two cases were a result of coming in contact with pigs at local Michigan county fairs, Oakland and Tuscola counties. Symptoms were prevalent about 10 days after exposure in both individuals.

Swine flu typically causes mild illness with symptoms such as lack of appetite, coughing and a high fever. However, it can be severe for those at higher risk of flu complications and potentially cause a pandemic due to how contagious it can be, according to the CDC.

“Typically the virus is spread either from a person touching a pig on infected areas such as touching a pig on the snout and then perhaps raising their hands to their own mouths," said Madonna Benjamins, a swine specialist with Michigan State University Extension.

Both cases were detected last month. Both individuals were treated with flu antivirals and only one of the individuals had to be hospitalized.

Don Derryberry, the emergency preparedness coordinator and public information officer with the Tuscola County Health Department — one of the two counties where the flu was detected — said officials were never able to identify the infected pig, but the 80 pigs that were in the fair have been slaughtered.

Derryberry is asking anyone who has flu-like symptoms after visiting the Tuscola county fair to call their doctor or the health department.

Both individuals have recovered since without any spread of the flu.

The CDC advises the public to take precautions to prevent any further outbreaks when attending the agricultural fairs.

Officials recommend avoiding eating or drinking in close proximity to pigs. They also advise washing your hands with soap and water, before and after coming in contact with a pig.

Human cases are typically rare when it comes to swine flu, but since 2005 a total of 512 viruses have been detected in humans, according to the CDC.

The Michigan Association of Fairs and Exhibition reported that the state hosts a total of 86 county fairs all year round.

These two cases are the first reported since last August.

Renae is a newsroom intern covering northwest Lower Michigan for WCMU.
Rick Brewer has been news director at WCMU since February 2024.