Enjoy the County Fair ... and stay healthy!
The Delaware General Health District wants to invite everyone to enjoy the Delaware County Fair. With a few simple precautions Delaware County Fair visitors can also stay healthy and avoid getting the newest form of swine flu.
One main precaution is to wash your hands after visiting animal exhibits. If you have a health condition that makes you susceptible to severe complications from flu, you should consider remaining outside the swine building.
More than a third of the nearly 300 reported cases of influenza A H3N2 variant, or H3N2v, have occurred in Ohio. Many of the cases have been in people showing pigs at agricultural fairs. One person has died in the state. There have been no confirmed cases in Delaware and local officials would like it to stay that way.
The Delaware General Health District is working with the Delaware County Fair Board to post signs on the fairgrounds listing precautions to take. The Health District also is providing hand-washing and hand-sanitizing stations during this year’s fair. And visitors should look for volunteer youth who will distribute Health District supplied hand sanitizer to remind visitors to wash or sanitize their hands before enjoying fair food.
Animals can carry germs, and sometimes those germs can make people sick. This appears to be the case with H3N2v. Pigs – like people – get the flu and spread the disease among each other when they cough, spewing flu germs about the pigpen. People can catch H3N2v from contact with the pigs or contaminated surfaces (but not by eating pork). No vaccine against H3N2v is presently available.
The Delaware General Health District recommends:
• Know that animals carry germs that can make people sick.
• Never eat, drink or put things into your mouth in animal areas.
• Older adults, pregnant women and young children should be extra careful around animals.
• Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after visiting the animal area. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
• Please remember that not only can pigs carry flu to humans, humans can also carry flu to pigs and make them sick. Avoid contact with pigs if you have flu-like symptoms.