Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Take Basic Precautions for Pleasant Visit to Swine Barn

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Take Basic Precautions for Pleasant Visit to Swine Barn

Article excerpt

Fair and health officials say reported cases of swine flu at county fairs in the central part of the state shouldn't keep people away from the Vanderburgh County 4-H Fair this week; instead, fairgoers need to practice good hygiene and extra caution around the pigs. "We have several measures in place," fair swine superintendent Adam Schmitt said.

In addition to normal health and safety factors in place like hand washing stations at both entrances to the swine barn, a veterinary student from Purdue University took the temperature of each swine as it was being unloaded at the fairgrounds. Schmitt was also there to make a visual inspection of each of the animals as they were dropped off. And he stressed that sick swine aren't allowed in the barn.

State health officials are asking Hoosiers to take steps to protect themselves at fairs around the state this summer after 12 cases of variant influenza A (H3N2v), also known as swine influenza, have been diagnosed. At least 10 of those diagnosed had exposure to swine at the Grant and Hancock county fairs and one with swine at their home farm.

Last year more than a third of the swine flu cases - 138 - reported to the Centers for Disease Control were from Indiana. Variant influenza A H3N2v was identi-fied in Indiana last year, with a total of 138 cases in 2012. There were a total of 309 reported to the CDC all of last year, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. Most of these infections resulted in mild illness, although 16 people were hospitalized and one person died. Most of those hospitalized and the individual who died had one or more high risk conditions, according to the CDC.

While human infections with swine flue are rare, it most commonly occurs after close proximity to live and infected pigs. The virus cannot be transmitted by eating pork or pork products.

"There's no reason why Hoosiers shouldn't enjoy our county and 4- H fairs this summer," State Health Commissioner Dr. William VanNess said. "But now that we know swine influenza is circulating, it's going to be important to take some extra precautions around the animals."

Since there is no vaccine available for people to protect against this variant influenza A virus, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid sources of exposure to the virus.

The Indiana Board of Animal Health put out recommendations to area fair boards with ways to help control the spread.

Schmitt said many of the things recommended are things they have already done to help keep the swine comfortable and make the fair experience a good one for fairgoers, 4-H'ers and the animals. Each of the nearly 100 swine will have their own pen, unless the 4-H'er requested the swine stay together in the areas that are big enough for two.

The barn's floor is covered in clean sawdust and waste is removed from the area at least once a day. …

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