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.”

National Pepperoni Pizza Day 2017: Deals, bargains from Domino’s, Pizza Hut and more

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 11:37 AM



Stock art
(Stock art)

To many of us, every day is pepperoni pizza day, but on the calendar of official “food days,” Wednesday is National Pepperoni Pizza Day.

With pepperoni as the most ordered topping on pizza, you are going to want to celebrate, right? Who wouldn’t?

Here are some some National Pepperoni Day (and other day) deals.

Chuck E. Cheese: Chuck E. is offering a crispy pepperoni pizza Wednesday and Thursday when you buy any large regularly-priced pizza. Use coupon code #5485.

>> Read more trending news

Domino’s: You can get a free pepperoni (or any kind) in a buy one/get one deal. The BOGO is good through Sept. 24.

Marco’s Pizza: Get an extra-large, 1-topping pizza for $8.99.

Papa John’s: Get a free large 1-topping pizza when you buy any pizza using Visa Checkout. Order the pizza online, then you will get an email with a code for the free pizza.

Papa Murphy’s: Get a large pepperoni pizza for $6 when you donate $4.25 or more to the Children’s Miracle Hospitals. Order online.

Pizza Hut: Get a large pepperoni pizza for $1 when you buy a large pizza at menu price online. Use the code: PEPPEREONI1 at checkout.

Lawmaker slams WSU for email warning of anti-abortion activists

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 9:30 AM
Updated: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 11:56 AM

WSU protest

A local lawmaker is criticizing Wright State University’s handling a planned anti-abortion event on campus today.

State Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miami Twp., said Gary Dickstein, WSU’s interim vice president for student affairs, should not have sent out a campus-wide email warning people of the event. In the campus email, Dickstein said that the public university must allow the activists on campus, even if they express views that some might find offensive.

“I’m saddened it seemed as if he were taking a position on this protest when he said it ‘must’ be allowed, that it might be ‘offensive,’ and that he will ensure the group ‘behaves,’” Antani said. “This is disturbing when university campuses already seem to be a bastion of liberal ideology.”

RELATED: Wright State adds rules sign to rock that caused controversy last fall

The campus-wide email speaks to an ongoing issue of free speech on campus that has bubbled up in recent months.

Republicans such as Antani and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana have criticized colleges for not allowing speakers with conservative or controversial views from hosting events on campuses.

Approximately 10 anti-abortion activists from the group “Created Equal” will be in the WSU quad from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, according to a press release from the group. The group will set up 4 feet by 3 feet placards of “very graphic images,” according to the email.

“As an institution of higher education, it is imperative that we embrace diverse thoughts and ideas. Moreover, as a public university, Wright State must allow individuals or groups who wish to exercise their First Amendment rights on its campuses the opportunity to do so. This is true even when individuals and/or groups express views that some in our community find offensive,” the email states.

RELATED: Ohio State denies white supremacist’s request to speak on campus

Wright State encouraged people uncomfortable with the event to avoid the quad altogether or to seek support from the school’s counseling and wellness center, something Antani also criticized.

“I am disappointed Dr. Dickstein decided to send this email in the tone that he did. Students do not need counseling services because of a protest,” Antani said.

Wright State spokesman Seth Bauguess declined to respond directly to Antani’s comments. But, moving forward the university plans to notify students, staff and faculty every time an off-campus group plans to hold a demonstration on campus, Bauguess said.

“We had people in our community wanting to know about when these types of things were happening,” Bauguess said. “We decided we’re going to be more committed going forward to telling our campus about these things.”

Officials also see the demonstration as a learning experience for students who may not have realized that because Wright State is a public university, it is required to allow demonstrations and protests on campus, Bauguess said.

RELATED: Wright State may outsource Nutter Center management to boost finances

Other colleges across the country have turned down controversial speakers recently. Earlier this month, Ohio State announced it would not allow known white supremacist Richard Spencer to host a campus event because of safety concerns.

In August, Wright State posted a “rules sign” near a campus rock that caused controversy a year ago. In September 2016, the rock was painted by students to say “Black Lives Matter.” Shortly after, the word “black” was changed to “white” and later to “all.”

Lift a glass to Oktoberfest

Published: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 @ 3:45 PM
Updated: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 @ 3:51 PM

Since 1972, Octoberfest, the Dayton Art Institute’s largest fundraiser, has been untapped for the community.

The event was started by the DAI’s Associate Board to “encourage the community to have a fun weekend at its museum and have a chance to buy good art objects,” according to a Journal-Herald newspaper article from the time.

 

While it began primarily as a community event intended to attract a diverse audience to the museum, the Associate Board’s intent was expansion. With the success of that first event, and its subsequent rapid growth, it quickly became an important fundraising event for the museum, according to DAI Director and CEO Michael Roediger.

 

The first year 7,000 people attended and a glass of beer cost 10 cents. Receipts for admission and beer totaled $11,000. The funds raised now by Oktoberfest assist the DAI’s general operations. Roediger said that in good weather the event can net between $350,000 to more than $400,000.

  

Without those funds, “our programs and staffing would be cut significantly,” said Roediger. “Just by the numbers, Oktoberfest covers the annual cost and benefits for 10 salaried positions.”

 

Since its beginning in the 1970s, Oktoberfest has not only grown in numbers but expanded to a larger part of the grounds. Early Oktoberfest activities took place in the cloisters and in a garden where the contemporary gallery is now located. Today scores of artisan exhibitors display and sell their work in sprawling tents in front of the museum.

 

Attending the event is a tradition for many area families who have collected the commemorative beer steins created for the event since the late 1970s.

   
“The DAI’s Oktoberfest brings our community together to celebrate art, friendships and Dayton,” said Roediger. “The festival is a great opportunity for the community to get together and celebrate the museum and enjoy a beautiful weekend at one of the most gorgeous settings in town.”

Former teacher indicted on sex charges wants evidence suppressed

Published: Wednesday, September 06, 2017 @ 3:36 PM
Updated: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 12:06 PM

Former Stivers School for the Arts English and drama teacher John S. Findley was in court today. He's accused of pandering obscenity or sexually oriented material involving a minor. Prosecutors say the victim was not a DPS student.

UPDATE @ 12:07 p.m. (Sept. 20):

A lawyer for former Dayton Public School teacher John S. Findley, indicted on seven counts of pandering obscenity of a minor, wants a judge to suppress evidence.

RELATED: Ex-DPS teacher arrested, police seek victims

Findley, 34, appeared in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday for a scheduling conference, and he now has a suppression hearing scheduled for Nov. 1.

Defense attorney Jon Paul Rion said the defense will challenge the way police collected some information.

Dayton police reiterated Wednesday that the investigation is ongoing and anyone with information or knows someone who claims to be a victim should call Sgt. Gary Lowe at 937-333-1132.

RELATED: Former teacher indicted on seven minor obscenity charges

UPDATE @ 10:06 a.m. (Sept. 20):

John S. Findley is scheduled to appear in Montgomery County Common Pleas court this morning for a scheduling conference.

MORE: 3 things to know about Dayton teacher arrested on child sex charges

Dayton police are sill asking if anyone believes they were a victim or know a victim of Findley to contact police at 937-333-1132.

UPDATE, 11 a.m.: The former Dayton Public Schools teacher indicted on allegations of sex offenses involving minors had been put on paid leave during the last school year.

John S. Findley was placed on leave on April 18, according to the president of the Dayton teachers union, David Romick.

This news organization has requested additional records from Dayton Public Schools regarding Findley.

FIRST REPORT: Former Dayton Public Schools teacher John S. Findley has been indicted on seven felony counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor and pandering sexually oriented material Involving a minor.  

Findley, 34, of Westona Drive in Dayton, was listed on Dayton Public Schools’ website as a teacher of drama and English at Stivers School for the Arts. DPS officials said Findley resigned effective July 9. It was unclear Wednesday how long he had taught at Stivers, but a program from a 2014 Stivers play lists him as being with the school’s Career Technical Theatre Preparatory Program.

RELATED: Five times area teachers lost jobs amid allegations

Court records show that Findley was indicted Aug. 29 for alleged actions that occurred between November 2015 and August 2016. Jail records show he was arrested Tuesday and entered a plea of not guilty, with bond set at $100,000. 

The next listed court appearance is a scheduling conference Sept. 20 in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. 

Dayton Public Schools issued a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying the district “is fully cooperating with all law enforcement” in the case. Superintendent Rhonda Corr said DPS has established a crisis intervention team that will be at Stivers on Thursday and will be available “as long as necessary.” The district referred further questions to Dayton Police Det. James Hardin.

RELATED: DPS classroom aide fired over abuse accusation

One of the four pandering obscenity counts says that Findley did “direct or produce an obscene performance that has a minor as its participants.” The indictment also accuses Findley of promoting the material for sale or dissemination on Aug. 8 or Aug. 9 of 2016.

The three counts of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor include language saying Findley “created, directed or produced” the performance. 

Six of the charges are second-degree felonies, according to the indictment, while one is a fourth-degree felony. 

Ohio Department of Education records show Findley held a four-year Alternative Resident Educator License that expired this summer. ODE lists his teaching field as Performing Arts, as well as a class in principles of art and communication.

ODE’s educator discipline site shows no prior professional conduct discipline records against Findley.

MORE: Englewood mom not alone as more locals face deportation, attorney says