0705CountyFairLivestockdbsr.cfm Malatya Haber Take precautions when exhibiting, visiting swine exhibits at county fairs
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Take precautions when exhibiting, visiting swine exhibits at county fairs

By Robin Slattery

River Valley Extension District

Summer is heating up, wheat harvest is wrapping up, and county fairs are right around the corner. It is a very exciting time in River Valley District in north central Kansas. I wanted to briefly talk about this week are some special considerations when you visit or exhibit swine at a county fair.

Many people may not be aware, but people can transmit influenza to swine and vice versa (swine can transmit influenza to people). While rare, cases do happen every year in the United States. Most involve people who were in close contact with hogs, but transmission has the possibility of occurring from just visiting a swine barn at a fair. The Swine Exhibitions Zoonotic Influenza Working Group has recommendation for exhibitors and spectators of swine exhibits at the county fair.

For exhibitors, make sure you are familiar with the clinical signs of influenza in a hog. They include fever, anorexia, lethargy, nasal discharge, and cough. If your hog has any of these signs, contact a veterinarian and notify your county Extension agent. This disease can rapidly spread among hogs, so it is important to isolate the sick hog immediately. If you suspect that your hog has any illness before taking it to the fair, please be considerate of the other exhibitors and do not bring the hog to the fair. You are putting all of the other hogs at the fair, and people, at risk. If bringing hogs home after the fair, make sure to keep them separate from other hogs on your operation and observe them for at least seven days for signs of illness. Clean and disinfect any equipment, clothing, shoes, and vehicles/trailers that were at the fairgrounds.

For visitors at the fair, if you are experiencing any influenza like symptoms please stay away from swine exhibits for at least 24 hours after you are fever-free (without fever-reducing medication). You can potentially spread the disease to the hogs. Do not eat or drink in the hog barns and wash your hands frequently during your fair visit. Do not take any pacifiers, sipping cups, or strollers into animal stalling areas. If you develop any influenza like symptoms after being in contact with hogs, contact your health care advisor and make sure to tell them about your exposure to hogs. People at high risk for developing complications from influenza include children younger than 5, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health care conditions (e.g., asthma, diabetes, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, weakened immune system). These people should limit their exposure to swine and not enter swine barns.

This is not meant to scare anyone from coming out to the county fairs this season. You can certainly transmit an illness wherever you go from people around you. However, keeping good hygiene and limiting exposure to swine if you are at risk, is advisable. It is rare to contract influenza, but can happen and we all want everyone to have a fun experience at the fair. Please join us July 17 to 20 at either Clay County or Washington County Fairs, July 23 to 27 in Cloud County, and July 29 to Aug. 3 in Republic County.

Date: 7/29/2013

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