Aug 6 (Reuters) - The hogs at Indiana State Fair's swine barn were sent home on Monday, a day early, after six pigs showed signs of illness during a summer in which federal officials are reporting an unusually high number of human swine flu cases in the United States.
Many of those human cases are linked to attendance at U.S. fairs where sick pigs were present.
"We consider this decision to be very prudent in light of what we have seen during the last several weeks at county fairs all over Indiana, as well as in other states," Indiana State Veterinarian Bret Marsh said in a statement.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday that it had 29 U.S. reported human cases of influenza A variant H3N2 infections since July 2011.
Additional cases have been confirmed in Ohio, state officials said on Monday, and the total in that state is now 15, one connected to the Ohio State Fair and the rest related to a county fair. Two hogs were sent home last week from the Ohio State Fair, which ended on Sunday.
At the Indiana State Fair, where six pigs in the 4-H show developed temperatures over 105 degrees, it's not yet clear what caused the high fevers. State fair visitors will still be able to visit the swine barn and see the champion pigs, fair officials said.
There have been no human swine flu cases at the Indiana State Fair, fair officials said. Health officials in Indiana said on Friday they had confirmed 11 cases statewide of influenza A variant infections, all linked to swine, some of which were exhibited at local fairs, since July 2012.
Swine influenza A viruses rarely infect humans, but can be spread when people are standing near an infected pig that coughs or sneezes. Humans also can get the virus by touching an infected pig or a surface that has been infected, and then touching their own mouth or nose. (Reporting by Susan Guyett and Corrie MacLaggan)
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