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.”

Disney releases details on new gondola system, Disney Skyliner

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 5:07 PM

Disney released new details and visuals on gondolas that will connect some of its theme parks and hotels at Walt Disney World. (Photo: Disney)
Disney released new details and visuals on gondolas that will connect some of its theme parks and hotels at Walt Disney World. (Photo: Disney)

Disney released new details and visuals on the gondola system that will connect some of its theme parks and hotels at Walt Disney World.

>> Read more trending news

The Disney Parks and Resorts Blog released information on the gondola system, called the Disney Skyliner. 

Disney released new details and visuals on gondolas that will connect some of its theme parks and hotels at Walt Disney World. (Photo: Disney)

Each cabin will showcase Disney characters and stations will be spread out throughout the park to give visitors a scenic view of the resort. 

One station will be at the International Gateway at Epcot. Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort will be the station that serves as the system's hub where guests can transfer.

The blog did not say when the gondolas will open.

The gondola construction project comes as Disney is expanding by building new lands in Hollywood Studios and adding more rides in Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

Clouds and more snow expected over coming days

Published: Saturday, December 09, 2017 @ 5:19 AM
Updated: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 4:50 PM

VIDEO: Snow falls on public square in Troy

Mainly clear skies are expected this evening, Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar said. Temperatures will fall into the 20s.

>> PHOTOS: Winter comes early

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • Clouds return tonight
  • Chance for snow returns this week
  • Low temperatures remain

>> How much snow fell on Saturday?

More snow is expected during the coming work-week in the Dayton area.

>> What are the chances for a White Christmas?

DETAILED FORECAST

Overnight: Clouds build in overnight, which will be cold with lows in the lower to middle 20s.

Monday: Mostly cloudy skies are expected with highs in the middle to upper 30s. There is the chance for a passing light rain shower in the afternoon, but most look to stay dry with a better chance for snow coming overnight into Tuesday. 

>> YOU NEED THIS: WHIO Weather App

5-Day Temperature Trend(Graphic by Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar)

>> County-by-County Weather 

Tuesday Lake-effect snow showers are expected. Highs will be in the upper 20s.

>> SkyWitness7

Wednesday: A few flurries are possible. It's also going to be a cold day, with morning temperatures in the middle teens. Highs will only be in the middle to upper 20s. 

Thursday: The chance for more snow returns with highs in the middle 30s.

Friday: A few flurries are possible with highs in the lower 30s.

>> WHIO Doppler 7 HD Interactive Radar

Intruder killed by 85-year-old man was family member

Published: Saturday, December 09, 2017 @ 10:40 PM

Elderly Man Kills Intruder Who Was A Family Member

The intruder shot and killed by an elderly homeowner in Lawrence County early Friday morning has been identified as the shooter's nephew-in-law. 

>> Read more trending news

Investigators told Channel 11 the man has been identified as Dennis Mercadante, 49.

Mercadante was identified by using facial recognition by Pennsylvania State Police. 

Investigators said Don Lutz, 85, was confronted by two intruders, Mercadante and another suspect, at about 1:30 a.m. Friday at his Jamison Avenue home, and an altercation followed.

“I just fired one. It was in the dark. He attacked me and he was up close and I shot him,” Lutz said.

“They jumped me and we both went on the floor. I scuffled with them on the floor and the one guy rolled over dead and the other guy, he jumped up and went out the door.”

Police are still searching for the second suspect, who ran off. 

“The other one, maybe the bullet hit him, too. I don’t know. I hope so,” Lutz said.

Updated: 2 inches of snow falls in parts of region

Published: Saturday, December 09, 2017 @ 10:38 PM
Updated: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 1:30 PM

VIDEO: Snow falls in Beavercreek

A clipper brought snow showers throughout Saturday afternoon and evening, measuring as much as 2 inches in Piqua to ½ inch in Lebanon. Most spots reached about 1 inch. In all areas, the snowfall led to numerous crashes and slide-offs as roadways became slick.

Snowfall Totals(Graphic by Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar)
Following are snowfall totals reported as of 11 a.m., Dec. 10, by the National Weather Service in Wilmington:
  • 2 inches Piqua (Miami County), reported at 9:02 a.m. (Dec. 10)
  • 1.7 inches Dayton International Airport, reported at 12 a.m. (Dec. 10)
  • 1. 5 inches Englewood (Montgomery County), reported at 12:42 a.m.
  • 1.5 inches Celina (Mercer County), reported at 12:21 a.m.
  • 1.5 inches Greenville (Darke County), reported at 7:03 p.m. 
  • 1.4 inches Springfield (Clark County), reported at 10:49 a.m. (Dec. 10)
  • 1.4 inches Fairborn (Greene County), reported at 9:02 a.m. (Dec. 10)
  • 1.3 New Carlisle (Darke County), reported 10:49 a.m. (Dec. 10)
  • 1.2 inches Centerville (Montgomery County), reported at 9:05 p.m. 
  • 1.1 inches in Wilmington (Clinton County), reported at 12 a.m. (Dec. 10)
  • 1 inch Eaton (Preble County), reported at 9:02 a.m. (Dec. 10)
  • 1 inch Versailles (Darke County), reported at 9:02 a.m. (Dec. 10)
  • 1 inch Waynesfield (Auglaize County), reported at 12:15 a.m. (Dec. 10)
  • 1 inch Wapakoneta (Auglaize County), reported at 12 a.m. (Dec. 10)
  • 1 inch Springfield (Clark County), reported at 11:47 p.m.
  • 1 inch Maustown (Butler County), reported at 9:17 p.m.
  • 1 inch Richmond (Wayne County, Ind.), reported at 8 p.m.
  • 1 inch West Alexandria (Preble County), reported at 7:58 p.m. 
  • 1 inch Urbana (Champaign County), reported at 7:56 p.m. 
  • 1 inch Xenia (Greene County), reported at 7:37 p.m. 
  • 1 inch Sidney (Shelby County), reported at 7:15 p.m. 
  • 0.8 inch Houston (Shelby County), reported at 9:02 a.m. (Dec. 10)
  • 0.8 inch Bellefontaine (Logan County), reported at 11:51 p.m.
  • 0.7 inch Maineville (Warren County), reported at 9 p.m.
  • 0.5 inch Huntsville (Logan County), reported at 10:49 a.m. (Dec. 10)
  • 0.5 inch St. Paris (Champaign County), reported at 10:49 a.m. (Dec. 10)
  • 0.5 inch Farmersville (Montgomery County), reported at 9:02 a.m. (Dec. 10)
  • 0.5 inch New Lebanon (Montgomery County), reported at 9:02 a.m. (Dec. 10)
  • 0.5 inch Fort Loramie (Shelby County), reported at 9:02 a.m. (Dec. 10)
  • 0.5 inch Lebanon (Warren County), reported at 7:58 p.m. 
  • 0.5 inch Liberty Twp. (Butler County), reported at 6:15 p.m. 
  • 0.2 inch Kings Mills (Warren County), reported at 10:49 a.m. (Dec. 10)