NASHVILLE – Thousands of Tennesseans will be enjoying the sights, sounds and foods of county fairs in the upcoming weeks. And while the Tennessee Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture and other agencies work behind the scenes to help safeguard the health of people and animals, parents and individuals need to take a few moments to prepare for another healthy trip to the fairgrounds.
Livestock exhibits are popular attractions and are an important part of agricultural youth programs and industry. Fairgoers are encouraged to visit these areas while also being mindful that, while the instances are rare, livestock can sometimes spread diseases such as E coli and H3N2 swine flu to humans, especially the elderly, young children, and those with compromised immune systems.
Last year, there were several cases in other states of swine flu infecting pigs and, in some cases, humans who came into contact with them at fairs around the country. To minimize risk, those prone to developing severe complications from influenza or in poor health should limit their exposure to swine.