Ohio State Fair exhibitors are preparing to bring their livestock onto the fairgrounds in Columbus with the risk of their hogs contracting swine influenza as a main concern. Recently two county fairs in the state were devastated by the impact of influenza.
In the last month alone, two county fairs in Ohio have had swine influenza outbreaks. The affected fairs were Franklin County in Hilliard, Ohio and Clinton County in Wilmington, Ohio. The drive between the two fairs is just over an hour.
Franklin County's fair removed 50 hogs after two pigs developed influenza. Clinton County was hit on a much bigger scale; after two hogs tested positive for influenza, 300 more were required to undergo a mandatory slaughter.
Clinton County barns and equipment were put under quarantine and not released to owners until the proper sanitation process had been completed.
State fair officials are not taking the situation lightly. “Any animal showing any sign of illness will immediately be quarantined outside of the building away from all the other animals,” said Ohio State Fair spokesperson, Alicia Shoults.
To prevent the spread of influenza, officials ask that any hog attending the state fair should not have been shown at any other location within the last seven days before arriving in Columbus.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture says it is possible for influenza to be developed by humans, but the probability is very unlikely. Fair goers should wash their hands frequently and avoid eating and drinking in the barns according to state fair officials.