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State, county fairs taking precautions against swine flu

Posted at 4:17 PM, Jul 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-15 16:17:10-04

Pigs can get sick in the same way humans can. They'll get a temperature and even come down with a cough.

That's when it can get dangerous for other pigs, and people too.

"It's the general nature of having animals and humans," explains Ingham county fair director, Sandy Dargartz, "we all get sick."

Last summer, the Ingham county fair had one case of swine flu with a pig. This year, organizers are taking every measure to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"That's helped us kind of tighten up the ship and make sure we're doing everything we need to be doing," Dargartz says. "So it just kind of reinforced the protocols that we already had in place."

New protocols this year the fair is enforcing is requiring all pigs to get a flu vaccine before they can be shown.

There are no cases of swine flu in Michigan now, and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says they'll probably be able to keep it out.

"Emphasis has been on better biosecurity," points out Dr. Rick Smith of MDARD, "keeping pigs that are not from the same farm away from each other, doing disinfecting of common pig handling areas."

Smith continues to say that some farmers are even spending less time at fairs to limit their pigs to exposure.

But it's a two way street. County fairs will take their precautions, and they need fair-goers to as well.

They need you to wash your hands often, especially after seeing and/or petting animals. Don't take food into animal barns, and if you're sick already, it's better to stay away from the barns entirely.

Dargartz says this is the best way to make sure everyone, including the pigs, stays healthy during fair season.