The Tuscola County Health Department has identified a Tuscola County resident with flu-like symptoms, and the health department said Tuesday afternoon that it's very possible it could be swine flu. 

Since the Tuscola County Fair was held in Caro from July 23 to July 29, an attendee developed flu-like symptoms after attending the event. The TCHD said a respiratory specimen was sent to the CDC for influenza testing, which includes swine flu testing. 

The TCHD and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services have been contacting swine exhibitors who participated in the fair last week to identify any other illnesses in others who may have been exposed to influenza from infected pigs. Swine flu can be spread between humans and pigs through direct contact, surface contact, and through the air in droplets or dust. According to the CDC, children and adults who attend agricultural fairs with infected pigs or raise pigs can catch influenza.  The flu can not be contracted by eating properly cooked pork. 

Symptoms of the swine flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, chills, and body aches. Some may experience pain in the muscles, have a dry cough, and may experience diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, shortness of breath, or eye pain. On average, symptoms can last up to eight days. 

The TCHD, USDA, and CDC have recommended some steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones to help prevent the spread of the illness:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people
  • Cover your nose 
  • People at high risk should avoid pigs and swine barns at fairs
  • Don't take your food or drink into pig areas including eating and drinking or putting anything in your mouth in the pig areas
  • Don't take toys, pacifiers, cups, baby bottles, strollers, or other similar items into the pig areas
  • Avoid close contact with pigs that look or act ill
  • Wash your hands with soap and run before and after exposure to pigs or their environment.
  • If you have pigs, watch for illness. 
  • Avoiding contact with pigs if you have flu symptoms

The TCHD recommends if anyone has developed flu-like symptoms after visiting the Tuscola County Fair last week call their care provider or the TCHD immediately. The health department is working with providers to keep an eye out for patients who might be experiencing flu or respiratory symptoms. 

The TCHD could not be reached for comment before press time but is staying on top of the situation. Local health information and updates will be available on the TCHD's Facebook page and website

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