Protecting Fairgoers from Swine Flu

News

Fair organizers and health workers across the state are taking precautions to keep people safe from swine flu after a case was reported last week.

State health workers said someone in Indiana tested positive for swine flu last Friday after spending time at a county fair swine barn. They would not say which fair.

It’s the only case in the U.S. so far this year, and Bartholomew County fair organizers want to keep it that way. They opened their fair Friday night.

“We’ve done a pretty good job and, knock on wood, we haven’t had it here before,” said Mark Case,  Bartholomew County 4-H Fair Board president. “It can happen.”

Fairgoers will find signs at the swine barn in Bartholomew County warning them to wash their hands, avoid eating in the barn and stay away if they’re sick.

Organizers are setting up hand washing stations throughout the barn.

Stacey Schiefer’s kids are showing pigs this weekend.

“We wash our hands, of course, and just use our common sense, but we have never had an issue or problem. We’ll continue to do that,” Schiefer said.

State health workers are asking exhibitors to watch pigs for signs of illness.

Swine flu is an influenza virus that can be transferred from pigs to people. Symptoms in humans include fever, headaches, a sore throat and vomiting.

“I’ve heard about it before, but it doesn’t worry me or seem to bother me too much,” Schiefer said.

The Indiana State Fair is set to kick off August 3. Fair organizers are asking people to wash their hands after visiting a barn even if they don’t touch animals.

They are also warning people to keep pacifiers, sippy cups, toys and blankets out of the barns.

“Being around the animals all the time, most of it’s just common sense,” Schiefer said. “We are here having a good time and working hard and just doing what we love.”

State health workers last Friday said the person who caught swine flu was recovering. It’s the first case in Indiana since 2013.

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