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Eaton County Fairgrounds take precautions to avoid disease outbreaks among animals and the public

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Posted at 8:10 PM, Jul 08, 2019

CHARLOTTE, Mich. — Summer time fun often mean a trip to the local fair, but for families in California, it turned tragic last month when a toddler died and three other children fell sick after contracting E. Coli infection at the Sand Diego County Fair.

And as more fairs around Mid-Michigan begin to pop up this summer, many people are wondering how they can make sure their families are safe.

Animals fill the Eaton County Fairgrounds each year, but these animals, in particular, the swine can carry flu viruses.

"When we talk about how viruses are spread, they are spread when we cough or when we sneeze or when the animals cough or anyway we can reduce some of those clinical signs so that our people don't get pig sick or our pigs don't get people sick that's always a positive thing," said Beth Ferry, an educator with MSU Extension

For the first time, the MSU extension is testing the Eaton County Fairground's air quality.

"We are checking the dust particles and ventilation," said Ferry. "This fair is doing a great job at they have a lot of practices in place."

Roger Harris has been the swine supervisor at the fair grounds for 30 years.

He says the pigs this year are good condition, but he is keeping an eye on them as they transition to the city water at the fair.

"These pigs come in from farms that have good water and when they come and drink city water, it might give them some trouble," said Harris.

Harris and fair employees check on the pigs about 20 to 30 times a day.

"We watch them real close, if we every have a hog that has an issue we fill out a card on them, track their temperature and if we have a problem we will get it dismissed," explained Harris.

Now the fair wants you to do your part by keeping yourself and the animals free from illnesses.

And that's by keeping up good hygiene practices like washing your hands after touching any animals.

By every animal shed and petting farm, there are hand washing stations available.

The CDC says the best way to protect yourself :

Wash your hands -- and make sure children are supervised.
Avoid feeding animals.
Don't play on the ground.
Also don't bring food into the barn areas.
Symptoms of swine flu can include stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting that can last up to a week.

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