Officials watching for signs of mutation in swine flu

Published: Tuesday, August 07, 2012 @ 5:46 PM
Updated: Wednesday, August 08, 2012 @ 7:06 AM

As state and federal health officials monitor county fairs for signs of swine flu, they remind residents that it’s safe to visit the livestock barns, as long as they practice common sense. Their advice:

• Wash your hands frequently with soap and running water before and after exposure to animals.

• Never eat, drink or put things in your mouth in animal areas, and don’t take food or drink into animal areas.

• Young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older and people with weakened immune systems should be extra careful around animals.

• If you have animals – including swine – watch them for signs of illness and call a veterinarian if you suspect they might be sick.

• Avoid close contact with animals that look or act ill, when possible.

• Avoid contact with swine if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Experts from Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County will be available to answer your questions from noon to 1 p.m. duing an online chat at DaytonDailyNews.com. The Dayton Daily News will continue to bring you the latest updates on the swine flu and how it is affecting area people and county fairs.

H3N2v, the strain of swine flu that has sickened 15 people in Ohio, first emerged last year, when it sickened 12 people.

So far this year, it has been reported in Ohio, Indiana and Hawaii. Everyone infected has been in contact with infected swine at state or county fairs. None has required hospitalization so far this year.

Swine flu rarely infects people.

Symptoms from swine flu are the same as those associated with seasonal flu, and include fever, fatigue, body aches, cough and sore throat. Some people also experience nausea and vomiting.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in previous years, they’ve only tracked one or two cases a year of variant swine flu strains infecting people. The viruses rarely mutate to become easily transmitted from person to person.

The Ohio outbreak of swine flu that has sickened 15 people — 14 in Butler County and one in Clark County — is in its early stages but is being closely monitered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Because flu viruses mutate rapidly, the CDC is tracking the H3N2 virus and working with county fair officials across the U.S. as well as state health and agriculture officials this summer to track flu-like symptoms in both humans and swine. If the strain mutates, it could change to make people sicker, or it could become a milder infection. It could also change in a way that makes it more contagious.

The 15 people infected in the region had contact with infected swine at the Butler County Fair and the Ohio State Fair.

The same strain has sickened people Hawaii and Indiana this year. Last year, it infected people in Maine, Pennsylvania, Utah and West Virginia.

So far, none of the people who’ve taken ill have required hospitalization, Bresee said.

Concerns about swine flu shouldn’t stop people from enjoying county fairs this summer, said Dr. Joe Bresee, a medical epidemiologist in the CDC’s influenza division.

He said people should remember to wash their hands frequently and cover their coughs and sneezes.

“It is safe to go to the fair,” Bresee said. “We’re not recommending people don’t go to fairs. We’re just recommending that people do commonsense measures to prevent infection.”

Health officials’ best advice is for fair-goers to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer after visiting livestock barns and to avoid contact with sick pigs, he said.

“Long-term, I think it’s probably the fried Twinkies that will get you,” he said.

Officials with the Champaign County Fair, which closes Friday in Urbana, are in daily contact with the CDC and state health officials, said Tom Tullis, vice president of the fair. They’ve also worked with the Ohio Department of Agriculture to make sure there’s plenty of hand sanitizer in all of the livestock barns and signs up reminding fair-goers to wash their hands and avoid eating in the barns.

“One of our staff veterinarians goes through the buildings three times a day, and anything that has a temperature, he’ll ask the committee to take that animal off the grounds,” Tullis said.

Every year, state veterinarians randomly test swine for signs of infection, he said.

Workers with Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County are working with organizers of the Montgomery County Fair to bring them up to speed on the swine flu outbreak, said health department spokesman Bill Wharton. The fair opens Aug. 29 in Dayton.

Flu viruses are usually species-specific; human flu viruses infect people and swine flu viruses infect pigs. Sometimes, though, a swine influenza A virus can infect people. When flu spreads from pigs to people, it’s believed to spread the same way seasonal flu spreads from person to person. An infected pig might cough or sneeze, and a nearby human could breathe in the virus, or come in contact with a surface the or object the virus has touched, then put their hands to their mouths, nose or eyes.

As flu viruses mutate, they may pick up genes from other flu strains. H3N2v contains a gene from the H1N1 flu strain that caused the 2009-2010 flu pandemic.

So far this summer, the H3N2v flu strain is only spreading from infected pigs to people. Last year, there were a few cases in which the same strain spread from person to person. The CDC is monitoring how the strain is spreading both because it’s a new strain and because summer isn’t the typical season for flu in the Northern Hemisphere.

It’s too soon to say whether the H3N2v flu will spread from person to person this year, he said.

“I think this virus can do that. The question is whether this virus can do it efficiently or not,” he said. “Last year, we didn’t see much person-to-person spread, and we didn’t see ongoing spread that kept the outbreak going.”

Crash closes St. Paris Pike in German Township, Springfield

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 5:07 PM

Both drivers were transported to the hospital with non life threatening injuries after this head-on crash in the 3900 block of St. Paris Pike Monday afternoon.

A head-on crash in German Township has closed St. Paris Pike until further notice. The accident occurred around 4 p.m. and two people were transported to Springfield Memorial Hospital. 

Both victims sustained non-life threatening injuries according to the German Township Police Department.

RELATED: See more trending stories on WHIO.com

St. Paris Pike is shut down West of Upper Valley Pike and German Township Police advice motorists to find an alternate route. 

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Rain, snow could impact region this week

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 3:57 AM

Lots of sunshine this week, but cooler than normal.

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • Lots of sunshine, but chilly today
  • Few showers Tuesday with rain/snow mix possible
  • Quiet for Thanksgiving

>> WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

DETAILED FORECAST

This evening:

Mainly clear skies are expected with temperatures dropping through the 40s. It will still be breezy at times.

5 Day Forecast with Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs

Tonight: 

Skies will be clear with temperatures not quite as cold, holding in the middle 30s.

Tuesday: 

Clouds will be on the increase through the day. It will be breezy with highs near 50 degrees. A cold front will bring the chance for a few showers after dark. As temperatures drop, showers may mix in with flurries before ending.

>> County-by-County Weather

Wednesday: It will be cold again with temperatures in the morning in the 20s. A slick spot or two on bridges and overpasses can’t be ruled out where there were showers. There will be mostly sunny skies. Highs will only reach the upper 30s, which is about 10 degrees colder than normal.

>> Winter Weather Awareness: What to have in your car kit

Thanksgiving: We’ll have beautiful weather for Thanksgiving this year. It will be cool and sunny with highs in the low 40s and dry from start to finish.

Friday: It will be a frigid morning for Black Friday shoppers as temperatures will start in the upper 20s. Skies will be sunny, so it will warm to the mid-40s. It will stay dry.

Saturday: Expect some showers, mainly in the morning. Temperatures will fall from near 50 early in the day, through the 40s in the afternoon.

Accused I-75 wrong-way driver has previous intoxication, wrong-way cases

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 4:46 PM

WATCH: ODOT Camera captures wrong way driver crashing on I-75

A man accused of being under the influence and causing a wrong-way crash on Interstate 75 in Dayton on Saturday had an open court case for public intoxication and was cited in 2016 for driving the wrong-way on a one-way street, according to court records. 

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Drugs, alcohol suspected factors in I-75 wrong-way crash

Glenn Ellis, 47, of Dayton, was suspected to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he drove north in the southbound lanes on I-75 on Saturday morning, according to the record. 

Ellis crashed head-on into a car driven by Anthony Revels, 59, of Dayton, near the Ohio 4 exit, according to a police report. Revels and his passenger were injured, but were treated and released from Miami Valley Hospital, the report said. 

On Monday, Ellis was charged with OVI, failure to control a motor vehicle, failure to wear a seat belt, and driving on the wrong-side of a divided roadway, according to online court records. 

RELATED: Defying odds: 3 men survive Dayton wrong-way interstate crash

Court records obtained by this news outlet indicate Ellis was cited for public intoxication on in the 400 block East Second Street in Dayton on Oct. 7, 2017.

“[Ellis] was subject of person down call,” according to the Dayton police citation. “He was highly intoxicated, [and] passed out in the rain.” 

The case is still listed as open, according to court records. 

Ellis was also cited for driving without a driver’s license and driving the wrong-way on a one-way street on Monument Avenue at North St. Clair Street in Dayton on Feb. 5, 2016. 

That citation states that Ellis was traveling on Monument Avenue and turned onto North St. Clair Street and didn’t realize North St. Clair was a one-way street. 

Court records indicate the charges were dismissed and Ellis was ordered to pay court costs. 

“There’s a car coming the wrong way!”

On Monday, Anthony Revels of Dayton was at a tow lot retrieving personal belongings and removing the tags from his totaled Prius.

Revels, 59, said he got on the I-75 going south at Wagner Ford Road.

“All of a sudden I looked up and saw a car passing other cars, literally coming at me,” he said

He told his passenger, Michael Jackson: “There’s a car coming in the wrong way! Wrong way!” 

Revels started taking his car right. The other car was still swerving in his direction, he said.

“We’re going to get hit,” he shouted to Jackson right before impact.

 As the cars came to a stop, Revels and Jackson checked on each other’s injuries. 

Neither was seriously hurt. Both were wearing their seat belts and all six of the car’s airbags deployed, Revels said.

At the hospital, Revels spoke with a police officer. 

“He seemed really shocked at the outcome of our accident – a head-on collision and we only had minor injuries,” Revels said.

Anthony Revels inspects the damage to his Toyota Prius on Monday after he and a passenger survived a head-on collision with a wrong-way driver on Interstate 75 early Saturday morning. SUBMITTED(SUBMITTED/SUBMITTED)

Revels said his chest has been sore since the accident in which he also banged up his right hand. He said his passenger also suffered minor injuries to an arm, leg and ribs.

“I went right. I just turned right,” he said. “That’s all you can do.”

Revels said God protected them during the crash.

“After going through this and looking at the car, I believe it,” he said.

ODOT video captures crash

An Ohio Department of Transportation camera, positioned at the I- 75 and Ohio 4 interchange, captured the crash. 

The camera, which was zoomed out, captures the moment a northbound vehicle slams into a southbound vehicle on the highway. 

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Music legend and 'Touched by an Angel' star Della Reese dead at 86

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 2:14 PM

Remembering Della Reese

“Touched By An Angel” actress and music legend Della Reese passed away on Sunday, friends said in a statement to PEOPLE. She was 86.

>> Read more trending news

“On behalf of her husband, Franklin Lett, and all her friends and family, I share with you the news that our beloved Della Reese has passed away peacefully at her California home last evening surrounded by love. She was an incredible wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and pastor, as well as an award-winning actress and singer. Through her life and work she touched and inspired the lives of millions of people,” Reese’s “Touched by an Angel” co-star Roma Downey said in a statement to PEOPLE.

On behalf of her husband, Franklin Lett, and all her friends and family, I share with you the news that our beloved...

Posted by Roma Downey on Monday, November 20, 2017

“She was a mother to me and I had the privilege of working with her side by side for so many years on ‘Touched By an Angel.’ I know heaven has a brand new angel this day. Della Reese will be forever in our hearts. Rest In Peace, sweet angel. We love you.”

Downey posted to Facebook on Friday, requesting that fans pray for Reese.

Thank you friends for all your prayers for this great lady ......please keep them coming I know they are such a comfort to Miss Della .🕊🕊🕊🕊🕊🕊🕊 #dellareese #prayfordella #angel #touchedbyanangel

Posted by Roma Downey on Friday, November 17, 2017

Before landing the role as Tess on “Touched by an Angel,” Reese was an accomplished singer who rose to national fame in 1957 with her song, “And That Reminds Me.” She had several other hits, including “Not One Minute More,” “And Now,” “Don’t You Know?” and “The Most Beautiful Words.”

When she made the move to television, Reese saw success in parts on series including “The Love Boat,” “MacGyver” and “The Young and the Restless.” She also had her own television variety hour called “Della” and was the first black woman to co-host “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” She went on to play Tess in “Touched by an Angel’s” 1994 debut and continued through the end of the series in 2003.

In this March 8, 1998 file photo, actress Della Reese, nominated for best dramatic actress for her role in the television series "Touched by an Angel", arrives for the Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. Reese, the actress and gospel-influenced singer who in middle age found her greatest fame as Tess, the wise angel in the long-running television drama "Touched by an Angel," died at age 86. A family representative released a statement Monday that Reese died peacefully Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, in California. No cause of death or additional details were provided. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)(Mark J. Terrill/AP)

Reese had a near-death experience in 1979 when she suffered a brain aneurysm. The health scare lead her to found her own church, Understanding Principles for Better Living.

She is survived by her husband Franklin Lett and children James, Franklin and Dominique. Her daughter Deloreese Owens passed away in 2002.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.