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Ingham Co. Fair taking extra steps to keep people, animals healthy

Posted at 4:58 PM, Jul 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 04:56:08-04

LANSING, Mich. — Health officials have confirmed swine flu in some pigs at the Fowlerville Family Fair.

That has fair-goers feeling a little uneasy Monday night.

And with the Ingham County Fair Kicking off Monday, those in charge are keeping the public informed about what they do to keep the animals and people there healthy.

If you look around at the Ingham County Fair on Monday, you won't see any pigs. That's for good reason: the public's safety.

"The swine are only here for 72 hours, that reduces the likelihood of them getting swine flu," Fair Grounds Events Director Lindsey McKeever said.

The less time the pigs are out, the less likely they are to get sick. Pigs are also vaccinated and checked by vets before hitting the barns.

"It's super important for us. It's a priority for all of our animals to be health and maintain that health through our time at the fair, and it's also important for us for our guests to be safe and comfortable while they are here," McKeever said.

In addition, kids who show the swine are required to take special classes about animal welfare. Sophia Barnum has been showing pigs for four years, and says she takes pride in making sure they are clean.

"I come out with clean hands to make sure there is no disease on them to begin with to make sure that doesn't transfer," Barnum said. "And then, after I'm done I wash my hands in between animals to make sure nothing transfers to the another animal if the other ones have it. Just stop the spread because it is a bio-security thing."

People are also encouraged to wash their hands before and after visiting the animals. Officials and kids involved in 4H say they understand the public's concern, but they are taking steps to make sure everyone has a clean, fun time.

"It's just a lot of fun and it's a way to interact with people and have fun with friends and make new friends. They really shouldn't be nervous, because there are a lot of people here that take good care of their pigs and if someone isn't we make sure to address that right away," Barnum added.

The pigs will be brought into the fair Tuesday.

The Livingston County Health Department says that there aren't any confirmed cases of swine flu in people. The sick pigs were placed in a quarantine and all pigs were removed from the fair grounds.

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