Updated: Thursday, 09 Aug 2012, 10:48 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 09 Aug 2012, 10:48 PM EDT
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - A new strand of swine flu is sweeping the Hoosier state, and it's spreading to other states as well.
The influenza "A" variant is being transferred to humans at a rapid rate.
It's a foreign sight at the Indiana State Fair for early August when you can visit pig barns that have no pigs.
When 14 swine flu cases jumped to more than 100 in Indiana, State Fair officials got rid of one factor: the pigs.
Union Hospital's Dr. John Bolinger calls cases that go from animal to human uncommon.
"I don't think I've ever actually seen a zoonotic illness," Dr. Bolinger said.
That's in his 20-plus years of work.
The rate cases go up adds another concern.
"With recent county fairs, we're seeing more cases of it [swine flu]," Vigo County Health Department spokesperson Sydney Elliot said. "It is rapidly increasing."
As of now, the flu transfers from pig to people and people to pig, as well as pig to pig, but Dr. Bolinger said sharing the flu among people isn’t a far fetched idea.
"Flu viruses can mutate,” Dr. Bolinger explained. “And if it mutates more it could become more of a person to person epidemic."
For now, it's important to remember the symptoms.
"The symptoms in humans are regular flu symptoms, coughing, sneezing, chest congestion, probably a fever," Dr. Bolinger said.
It’s just as important to know how to keep yourself from contracting this form of swine flu.
"If the animals themselves are obviously ill, then probably should stay away," Dr. Bolinger said.
"Don't be chewing gum, eating, drinking, when you're in the barn," Elliot added.
"Just wash your hands,” Dr. Bolinger simplified. “Use the same precaution that you would in a flu epidemic."
Luckily, consumers have no reason to worry about what's on the dinner table.
"You cannot get it from eating pork," Elliot explained.
Eighteen counties in Indiana have confirmed cases including Greene and Owen Counties.
Three other states also report cases, including at least one case in Illinois.
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