Fair safety: Taking precautions from swine flu

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email

News 12 This Morning / Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It's fair season in the South. Fairs are going on all over the state, and the Georgia-Carolina State Fair kicks off Friday in Augusta. The barns will be filled with animals and hogs, and they want to make sure that while you are visiting the fair you are safe.

Barrels of hay already fill the barn in preparation for the Georgia-Carolina Fair. Starting Friday, these barns will fill with animals, and on Sunday, the hogs will arrive.

"We're always real excited when the fair comes," said Barn Manager Sid Mullis. "We have four different animal shows during the fair, we kind of space them out where we'll have animals in the barn the whole time."

This year the Department of Agriculture is sending out a special warning about swine flu after the death of an elderly woman in the Midwest.

"Immediately after that happened we got all sorts of things from the Department of Agriculture and the CDC about what we should do," Mullis said.

So they're posting signs and to make sure all patrons are aware.

"We're posting a warning sign for people that may walk into the hog area just to warn them that the people are more susceptible are young children under 5 years old and elderly over 65 and anybody who has any kind of preexisting conditions," he said.

The H3N2 virus can be passed from swine to humans and the most common time for it transfer is at the fair, but they say it is rare and they are taking every precaution possible.

"We do have a Department of Agriculture inspector here while all the animals come in so they actually look a all of them make sure they are in good health before they come in," Mullis said. "If they're not, they simply don't let them in the barn."

If you plan to visit the fair, just make sure you wash your hands and don't eat or drink in the barn.

"It's kinda like just catching a cold," Mullis said. "If you keep your hands washed, then typically you don't get it as much."

There have been no reported cases so far in Georgia or South Carolina. The symptoms are the same as the normal flu.

The Georgia-Carolina Fair opens Friday night at 5 p.m. It will be Quarter Night, so it is expected to be very busy. The fair runs from the 12th through the 21st and there more fairs to come in the area.

For more information on the fair, click here.

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