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.”

Researchers find meteorites from Michigan meteor

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 5:06 PM

A piece of stony-iron meteorite sits on a display during a press conference, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, at the Longway Planetarium in Flint, Mich. Longway Planetarium astronomers have located three meteorites, after a meteor broke apart about 20 miles over Earth Tuesday. Most of the meteorite’s fragments landed in Hamburg Township, Mich. The meteor will be sent to NASA for analysis. (Bronte Wittpenn/The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP)
Bronte Wittpenn/AP
A piece of stony-iron meteorite sits on a display during a press conference, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, at the Longway Planetarium in Flint, Mich. Longway Planetarium astronomers have located three meteorites, after a meteor broke apart about 20 miles over Earth Tuesday. Most of the meteorite’s fragments landed in Hamburg Township, Mich. The meteor will be sent to NASA for analysis. (Bronte Wittpenn/The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP)(Bronte Wittpenn/AP)

Researchers with the American Meteor Society found two meteorites just days after a meteor lit up the sky across part of Michigan, according to a tweet from AMS.

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“We are happy and excited to report, two meteorites from the Jan. 16th fall have been found in Michigan,” the Thursday tweet said. “Congratulations to Robert Ward and Larry Atkins on the first two reported finds.”

A group from Longway Planetarium and the Farmington Community Stargazer also recovered a meteorite and planned to share more details about its discovery, according to WDIV.

The meteorites were found near Charlotte, Michigan and near Whitmore Lake, according to WDIV. The AMS received more than 650 reports of a fireball from people in Michigan, Ohio and Canada.

Police investigating reported shooting outside Walmart in Fairfield Twp.

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 4:54 PM



Dan Acton
(Dan Acton)

Police are investigating after a reported shooting outside a Walmart in Fairfield Twp.

>>Autopsy report: Roy Halladay had drugs in system when plane crashed

Fairfield Township Police were called at about 3:15 p.m. Saturday to the Walmart at 3101 Hamilton Princeton Road.

According to scanner traffic, a person was shot in the leg during the incident.

Initial reports may have been drug related.

We are working to learn more and will update this page as information becomes available.

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

Few thousand turn out in support of Women’s March

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 2:38 PM

rally raw Video

An estimated few thousand people descended on downtown Dayton to support equality.

RELATED: Women's marches, events taking place across nation

The 2018 Women’s March drew people across the region.

The event at Courthouse Square is being organized by Dayton Women’s Rights Alliance, along with Dayton Indivisible for All and others.

RELATED: Photos: Women's marches 2018

In downtown Dayton

The rally is designed to engage and empower all people to support women’s rights, human rights, civil rights, disability rights, and many others seeking equality.

RELATED: Thousands rallied in 2017 March

Last year’s event drew more than 3,000 people. This year’s event occurs in the midst of the #MeToo movement and the same week as the sentencing for former U.S. Gymnastics team Dr. Larry Nassar, who is accused of sexually molesting dozens of young girls under his care.

According to the event’s Facebook page: “We want to encourage continued resistance, collaboration and participation in 2018 mid-term elections in order to elect representatives who will fight for our rights and the future of our democracy.”

Crews battle structure fire at AK Steel in Middletown for over 2 hours

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 8:58 AM
Updated: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 12:52 PM

SCENE: Crews battle structure fire at AK Steel in Middletown for over 2 hours

UPDATE @ 1:51 p.m.:

A cracked vessel holding molten steel ignited a large fire at AK Steel in Middletown this morning.

Middletown Fire Chief Paul Lolli said the crew of about 60 firefighters from four departments have now cleared the scene. One firefighter/paramedic was taken to Atrium Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.

Lolli said the molten steel ignited other equipment and the building when it poured out.

“There was a fire at AK Steel at the basic oxygen furnace and the vessel that stores hot, molten steel somehow split open and ignited a fire in one of the buildings,” he said.

Lolli said it will take several weeks to determine what exactly happened and damage estimates at this early stage are impossible to predict.

Fire departments from Middletown, Franklin, Monroe and Liberty Twp. responded to the scene. Lolli said AK Steel’s fire crews will handle any hot spots that might flare up this afternoon.

UPDATE @ 12:52 p.m.:

The fire at AK Steel in Middletown is now out, according to Middletown’s Facebook page. 

UPDATE @ 10:54 a.m: 

Fire crews have been on scene of a structure fire at AK Steel in Middletown for over two hours, but appear to have the situation under control, according to dispatch.

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The incident was initially reported as heavy smoke coming from the structure in the 3400 block of Lefferson Road around 8:30 a.m.

Officials battled the fire that included molten metal reportedly flowing through the building and the second floor concrete collapsing at one point, causing crews to be removed from the first floor, per reports. 
No word on injuries. 

We are still working to learn what caused the fire’s start.

UPDATE @ 9:23 a.m: 

Crews continue to battle a massive fire at AK Steel in Middletown that occurred Saturday morning.

The address to the fire has been updated to the 3400 block of Lefferson Road, according to officials.

We are still working to learn details on the fire and will keep this story updated. 

INITIAL REPORT

Multiple fire crews are responding to the 1800 block of Crawford Street on a structure fire at AK Steele in Middletown, per initial reports. 

The incident was reported around 8:30 a.m., and is reportedly escalating.

We have a crew on the way to the scene and will update this story with additional details.