Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer Safe: Don’t let these three infectious diseases ruin your summer fun

Do your late summer plans include a trip to a state or county fair? How about a camping trip, or perhaps a visit to a local farm?

Reports of infectious diseases spread by animals and insects have been on the rise this summer. Here are three infectious diseases that have been in the news recently, along with tips for how you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

H3N2v, aka “swine flu,” from pigs
[Image courtesy
USDA/Scott Bauer]
In the last few weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported new cases of a type of influenza, H3N2v, that comes from pigs. Most of the people who got sick with this new type of flu had direct contact with pigs on farms or at state and county fairs. If you work around pigs or if you will be attending a fair or farm show, follow these tips to protect yourself:
  • Always wash your hands after touching animals.
  • Don’t eat or drink if you’re in an animal enclosure, and keep your hands away from your face.
  • If you have a weak immune system or are at high-risk for flu, stay away from pigs. This includes young children and adolescents, pregnant women, people who are already sick and people ages 65 and older.
  • Stay away from any animal that looks sick or acts strange. Call a veterinarian if you suspect that an animal is sick.
For more information, check out CDC’s H3N2v page.

[Image courtesy
USDA/Keith Weller]
Salmonella from baby chickens
Live baby poultry such as ducklings and chickens are adorable — what kid can’t resist picking up one of these cute, fuzzy, chirping animals? Don’t let their cuteness fool you: These animals can pose a health risk, especially to young children. Baby poultry, found in petting zoos, fairs and even in classrooms or at home, have been known to spread salmonella.

This year alone, baby chickens have been linked to salmonella cases in states around the country. Here are some tips to prevent illness from salmonella:
  • Don’t let children younger than age 5 touch or handle chicks or ducklings.
  • Don’t bring chicks, ducklings or other live poultry into your house.
  • Make sure anyone who handles baby poultry washes their hands thoroughly with soap and water. Adults should help young children wash their hands. For information about hand-washing for any age group, check out our collection of Get Ready fact sheets!
CDC has more information on salmonella and baby birds on its website.

West Nile virus from mosquitoes
[Mosquito image courtesy
CDC/ Frank Collins, PhD.]
So far this year, 42 states and the District of Columbia have reported West Nile infections in people, birds or mosquitoes. People get West Nile virus when they are bitten by mosquitoes that carry the disease. You can’t tell if a mosquito is infected just by looking at it, so the best protection is to prevent mosquito bites.
  • When you go outdoors, use insect repellent — especially at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants when possible.
  • Mosquitoes breed in still water, so remember to empty out barrels, flowerpots and buckets that are filled with water on your property or in your neighborhood. 
  • Learn more about protecting yourself from mosquitoes by checking out our fact sheet (PDF).
You can learn more about West Nile virus from CDC.

Even though these infectious diseases are on the rise, protecting yourself can be as simple as washing your hands and wearing bug spray. We hope this helps you stay safe this summer!

1 comment:

supersonicparachute said...

I loooooooove those piggies!