By Gabriella Garza
WEST ALLIS, Wisconsin (WISN) — It’s fair season in the Midwest, and there’s growing concern over some animals, especially pigs.
In Michigan, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said two people tested positive for swine flu after visiting pig exhibits at county fairs.
“Swine flu is a respiratory virus that pigs can get, and it is considered a zoonotic disease which means people can get it,” said Dr. Tia Kastenson, who is doing health checks for pigs at the fair.
There have been no cases reported in Wisconsin.
Animals at the Wisconsin State Fair undergo rounds of health inspection before the fair for their safety and for the fair attendees.
“They’re walking through the barns. Anything that’s sick, they’re getting called in, as well as a lot of the precautions we take ahead of time,” Kastenson said.
The Wisconsin State Fair follows health guidelines set by the state; they take it even further and require extra testing for pigs. Weeks before they even step onto the fairgrounds.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had a case here at the state fair. Our health precautions that we take help it from being a problem here at the state fair,” Kastenson said.
As tempting as it might be to pet the animals, it’s best for patrons to keep their hands to themselves and keep the food out of the barns.
“It is passed through airborne particle, so if you’re too close and you’re breathing it in and touching the pigs’ little snouts and touching your face, that’s how you can get it,” Kastenson said.
In general, when people are going to the fair, it’s recommended they wash their hands and sanitize as often as possible, but especially before they go eat any of the delicious fair food.
“I think for us is just being extra diligent and washing our hands when we go through a barn,” fairgoer Ailli Orton said. “I’m not going to intermingle my fair foods with my fair animals. I’ll keep them separate.”
The CDC recommends people avoid eating or drinking around pig exhibits at the fair, avoid contact with animals that appear to be ill and wash and sanitize hands after visiting pig exhibits.
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