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.”

Lease extensions sought for city land eyed for riverfront development

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 11:01 AM


            The city of West Carrollton plans to extend leases through the end of the year for two tenants at the Carrollton Plaza along I-75. The city plans to demolish buildings there next year and redevelop the site as part of a multi-million dollar entertainment district. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

West Carrollton is looking to extend leases with tenants of Carrollton Plaza, part of 13.75 acres the city recently acquired with plans to demolish buildings for redevelopment.

RELATED: Carrollon Plaza land seen as key for entertainment district

Lease extensions through Dec. 31 of this year for the Ohio Deputy Registrar License Agency and the Montgomery County Clerk of Courts Auto Title office are set to be addressed by West Carrollton City Council Tuesday night.

Those offices are among a handful of tenants at the Carrollton Plaza on East Dixie Drive at the southwest quadrant of Interstate 75’s Exit 47, a site seen as key to the city’s riverfront development for a multi-million dollar entertainment district.

RELATED: City hires consultant for $300 million riverfront plan

The city acquired Carrollton Plaza, the former site of Roberds, earlier this month.

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Dayton man to answer to murder charge in wife’s death

Published: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 10:44 AM
Updated: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 4:49 PM

Donald Lee Cleaver
Montgomery County Jail

DAYTON —  An 82-year-old man is facing a murder charge after police said he fatally stabbed his wife at their Delmar Avenue home.

  • Victim identified as Mary Lou Cleaver
  • Suspect identified as the victim’s husband, Donald Cleaver
  • Donald Cleaver is facing multiple charges, including murder while committing felonious assault and purposeful murder

UPDATE @ 10:49 a.m. (May 22)

Mary Lou Cleaver, 70, died of "multiple sharp force injures of the left posterior chest," and her death has been ruled a homicide, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

Mary Lou’s husband, 82-year-old Donald Cleaver, is scheduled to be arraigned today on charges of felonious assault and murder.

UPDATE @ 4:47 p.m. (May 19)

Donald Cleaver is being formally charged by the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office in the slaying of his wife.

UPDATE @ 12:17 p.m. (May 19)

An 82-year-old Dayton man is in the Montgomery County jail charged with murder for allegedly stabbing his 70-year-old wife to death following an argument in their home on Delmar Ave.

Donald Cleaver was booked in to jail early Friday morning after he showed up at the police department to turn himself in for allegedly killing his wife, Mary Cleaver.

>>TRENDING NEWS: Mother jailed, accused of shooting her children in the head

It was a neighbor that called 911 to alert police to the crime.  “He says he just killed his wife,” the 911 caller said.  “He’s getting ready to head to the jail he says.”

According to Dayton homicide detectives, the investigation shows the Cleaver’s apparently argued last night and after Mary Cleaver went to bed, Donald Cleaver fatally stabbed her. 

The case will be presented to the Montgomery Count Prosecutor’s office for formal charges.

>>MORE NEWS HAPPENING IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

According to a Dayton police report, officers responded to Cleaver’s home in the 200 block of North Delmar Avenue around 1 a.m. Friday.

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office said Mary Cleaver, 70, was killed at the same address officers responded to.

“He did not say how he did it,” the 911 caller said.

A knife is listed in the police report as a possible weapon used.

Cleaver is not yet officially charged.

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Woman found dead in Kettering ID’d: What we’re trying to find out

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 9:57 AM

The body of a woman found in Kettering Sunday morning has been identified as Tiffany Lynn Argo, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

Kettering Police are continuing their investigation after the body was found in the front yard of a home.

Police were dispatched to the house in the 3400 block of Valleywood Drive around 6:40 a.m., according to Kettering Officer John Jung.

MORE: Man indicted in bomb threat that evacuates Tenneco plant in Kettering

Here is what we’re trying to find out involving the death:

1) More about the victim

Little is known about the victim. Argo is 28 years old and her address was listed as Blakely Drive in Dayton, according to the coroner’s office. 

MORE: Crime lab director’s son, 2 others named as suspects after drug raids 

2) Circumstances surrounding death

Upon discovery of the body on Valleywood Drive, police were not able to immediately identify a cause of death. While autopsy reports can take up to eight weeks, a preliminary cause could be available before.

3) 9-1-1 call

We are currently awaiting 911 audio from Kettering police to find out when and the manner in which the body was discovered.

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Police: Mother shot kids to ‘save them from the evils of the world’

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 9:53 AM


            Claudena Helton faces charges related to last week’s shooting of her two children, who died Sunday night at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

The Dayton mother accused of shooting her children in the head said she did it to “save them from the evils of the world,” according to court documents.

Khmorra Helton, 8, and Kaiden Helton, 6, died Sunday at Dayton Children’s Hospital. Investigators from the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office will perform autopsies today.

PHOTOS: Police respond to shooting scene, neighbors react

Claudena Marie Helton, 30, was interviewed by Dayton police detectives Thursday at the Safety Building. According to the affidavit and statement of facts written by Dayton police Det. Rod Roberts, “Ms. Helton made admissions to shooting the children to save them from the evils of the world.”

The affidavit indicated Helton asked her oldest child, an 11-year-old, to assist her in removing the children from the home at 3821 Lori Sue Ave. The girl was taken from the home and interviewed.

RELATED: Dayton chief after 2 kids shot in head: ‘This is one of the toughest’

Helton is scheduled to be arraigned today in Dayton Municipal Court. The charges of attempted murder and felonious assault filed last week likely will be updated to reflect the children’s death.

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Khmorra’s father is listed as Lynntonio S. Watson, according to birth records.

Watson, 30, less than three years ago was convicted of murder and felonious assault in the shooting death of 19-year-old Martell Gray. In September 2013, he fired gunshots that killed Gray and injured two others near Dayton’s Whitney Young Estates.

Kaiden’s father is listed as Stephen J. Fletcher, the records show.

RELATED: Dayton mom who police say shot her children had volatile relationships

On May 23, 2010, Trotwood police arrested Fletcher for allegedly threatening Claudena Helton’s life, punching her in the face and choking her until she nearly fainted, according to a police report. Fletcher was charged with misdemeanor counts of aggravated menacing and domestic violence. He was found guilty of one of the counts and sentenced to 123 days in jail.

RELATED: 6 recent times children have been gunshot victims

Fatal shootings involving young child victims are rare.

In Montgomery County, one child under the age of 10 was killed by gun shots in both 2015 and 2016, according to preliminary data by Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County.

Between 2014 and 2016, there have been 126 Montgomery County residents who died from gun shots and nine were under the age of 18, the data show.