Thursday 11 July 2013

LINCOLN COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT ENCOURAGES HAND WASHING AT FAIR

Posted at 6:58 AM

The 2013 Fair season brings about fun for the family and often displays agricultural accomplishments of local community members. Last year a flu virus originating from pigs began getting people ill. The virus name is H3N2v and the state of Wisconsin Agricultural Trade and Consumer Department, as well as the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, is recommending increased awareness among fair goers about cleaning their hands after touching or visiting pigs.

Those visiting barns or facilities in which pigs are held should be sure to wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer upon exiting the facility. Symptoms of this flu include: fever, cough, sore throat, headache, and vomiting. The average age of those who became ill with H3N2v in Wisconsin during last year’s fair season was age 9 although ages ranged from 1-41. If you or someone you know begins to show signs of these symptoms after being around pigs, be sure to contact your provider for additional follow up testing and/or treatment. “At this time no one has become ill from H3N2v in Wisconsin this fair season, but we want to be prepared and create a safe and healthy environment for fair goers,” states Kristi Krombholz public health nurse for Lincoln County Health Department.

 The Wisconsin Agricultural Trade and Consumer Department is also recommending to people visiting pig barns to avoid eating or drinking in the barns as well as not allowing pacifiers or bottles into buildings holding pigs. The fair committee is also being proactive in keeping fair goers safe: The Lincoln County Fair Association Inc has been working with our state and national associations and the Dept of Agriculture over the course of the last 9 months and has decided to implement the following changes:

1  All Swine exhibited at Lincoln County Fair must be vaccinated for H3N2v.  This is a policy we recommended a few years ago.  It is now mandatory.

2  No food in our animal exhibit areas.  Signs will be posted.

3  There will be areas that will be fenced off from the general public.  These areas are for exhibitors only.  Examples are: the area between the barn wings, animal wash racks, or other high animal traffic areas.

4  More hand wash stations will be provided outside of all animal exhibit areas.  We strongly recommend using them when leaving those areas.
 
“We would like to apologize in advance for any inconvenience these changes may cause, but after reviewing all of the information on this matter, we felt these changes were necessary. Our goal has always been to provide the most enjoyable and educational event to all our exhibitors, vendors, and our fairgoers.  By making these changes we feel we are taking a step in the right direction to a safe, fun, learning experience for all.  Thank you for your cooperation and enjoy the Lincoln County Fair!” Lincoln County Fair Association, Inc
 

 

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