Confirmed cases of the swine flu are rising across Michigan, including West Michigan.

Currently, there is no vaccine for swine flu and the seasonal flu vaccine will not protect against it.

The Michigan Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture and Rural Development today announced that there have been eight human cases of influenza A variant viruses reported in Michigan. They have tested positive for influenza A H3N2 variant (H3N2v/swine flu) and one person has been hospitalized and since released.  All of the confirmed cases had exposure to swine at county fairs in Muskegon, Cass, and Ingham counties during July and August where sick pigs had also been identified.

Antiviral drugs are effective in treating H3N2v virus infections. Early treatment works best and may be especially important for people with a high risk condition.

In 2012, there were six swine flu cases in Michigan and in 2013 two cases were confirmed. Human infection is thought to happen when an infected pig coughs or sneezes and droplets with influenza virus land in someone’s nose or mouth, or are inhaled. There also is some evidence that the virus might spread by someone touching something that has virus on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

Symptoms of H3N2v infection in people are usually mild and similar to those of seasonal flu viruses, but as with seasonal flu, complications can lead to hospitalization and death. Symptoms include fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough and runny nose, as well as body aches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Some populations are at higher risk of developing complications if they get influenza, including children younger than five years of age, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems, and neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions.

The incubation period (the time it takes from exposure to illness) for swine flu is typically similar to seasonal influenza at about two days, but may be up to 10 days.