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State releases advisory for events with swine

Published On: Aug 20 2012 11:08:00 AM HST
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HONOLULU -

The Hawaii Department of Health and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture is recommending certain actions be adopted by events and programs where there may be contact between humans and swine.

These recommendations are being emphasized due to the recent confirmation of a variant influenza virus H3N2v in a person who had close contact with domestic swine on Maui.

Public health and animal health officials have similar concerns over larger outbreaks that have occurred recently in other states, including Indiana and Ohio.  These recommendations were established to protect both human and animal health.

Regarding Animal Event Organizers

  • Show management should report any unusual disease occurrences that occur at the fair in people to the Hawaii Department of Health and in animals to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture's State Veterinarian respectively.
  • Show management should insure that signage about proper hygienic practices is posted widely and prominently in and around livestock areas and hygienic stations with running water, soap and instructions for use are strategically placed.
  • Show management of individual fairs may adopt requirements which are more stringent than those recommended by the department, and all exhibitors are encouraged to check with the organizers of each fair in advance to ensure compliance with all requirements.

Recommendations for the public

  • People at high risk for influenza complications (underlying chronic medical conditions, pregnant, younger than five years, older than 65 years or those with weakened immune systems) should consider avoiding exposure to pigs this season.
  • People involved in activities that may involve swine contact should:
    • Wash their hands frequently with soap and running water before and after contact with animals;
    • Avoid eating, drinking or putting anything in your mouth in animal areas; and
    • Avoid close contact with animals that look or act ill.
  • Use hand-wash stations in and around livestock areas according to instructions.
  • Avoid contact with pigs if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms.  It is also important that humans not spread diseases to pigs.
  • For those who do come in contact with pigs avoid touching your face, and wash hands frequently.
  • People who experience influenza-like symptoms within seven days following direct or close contact with pigs and who seek medical care should inform their health care provider about the exposure.

Recommendations for livestock program and show managers and swine exhibitors:

  • The HDOA recommends that exhibitors of all animals discuss the health of their animals, including vaccine recommendations, with a veterinarian on a regular basis.
  • All swine entering fairs and exhibits should be vaccinated for swine influenza (H3N2 and H1N1 or any newer multivalent influenza vaccine) and for any other diseases as recommended by your veterinarian. Vaccination against various infectious agents affecting swine is an important herd health management tool.
  • All swine upon arrival and for the duration of fairs and exhibits should be evaluated by event veterinarians, university extension agents or livestock show managers. Any sick swine should be removed from the event back to their premise of origin and held in isolation.
  • HDOA’s State Veterinarian should be notified by management of sick swine discovered at these events. HDOA recommends that animals removed from or returning home from fairs be isolated from other members of the herd for two to four weeks to help prevent the spread of disease.

For information relating to human health, contact the DOH Disease Investigation Branch Duty Officer at 808-586-4586.  To view the CDC HEALTH ADVISORY, August 3, 2012, go to: http://www.bt.cdc.gov/HAN/han00325.asp

For information or to report suspected animal health issues, contact HDOA's Animal Disease Control Branch on Oahu at 808-483-7106 during normal business hours or after hours, call 808-837-8092.

Please visit the Hawaii Department of Agriculture website for more information and links to other resources: http://hawaii.gov/hdoa/ai/ldc/h3n2v-influenza-case

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