It is not a surprise there have been a few recent cases of H3N2v swine influenza found at state fairs. This is one of several common strains of influenza in pig populations, usually causing either no signs or mild ones, with animals recovering in just a few days.
Pigs and people can be susceptible to the same influenza strains. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises that it is rare for H3N2v to pass from pigs to people. When this does occur, symptoms in people often include fever, cough and runny nose, similar to seasonal flu. A sick person with H3N2 can also pass this virus on to a perfectly healthy pig.
To ensure that we maximize all of the educational and entertainment opportunities available during fair season, we can initiate some common-sense steps to prevent pigs and people from getting sick.
Biosecurity still remains our best defense and works both ways by reducing or preventing infection of people by pigs, and also the infection of pigs by people.
Below is the SC State Veterinarian’s list for swine exhibitors. Click on the information links for wide-ranging biosecurity practices and guidance that can be used for fair show managers, exhibitors and fairgoers alike.
Clemson Livestock Poultry Health (CULPH) continues to monitor swine disease events. Updates will be posted here. CULPH and SC DHEC are working together in their efforts to protect public health.
State Veterinarian's recommendations for swine exhibitors:
- Do not bring your pigs to the fair if you have sick pigs in the herd.
- Avoid direct contact/handling of other swine at the fair.
- Do not share equipment (buckets, brushes, etc.).
- Wash your hands after handling animals.
- Do not eat or drink in the barns.
- Notify the show manager immediately if a pig gets sick while at the show.
- After returning home, clean and disinfect all gear (show box, hoses, bucket, boots, etc.).
- Separate pigs returning home and observe. If you notice signs of influenza in your pigs within 10 days of returning home, contact your herd veterinarian.
- If you, or anyone in your family, have flu-like symptoms during or shortly after the fair, contact your physician or county health department.
Measures to Minimize Influenza Transmission at Swine Exhibitions, 2016 - National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials and the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians
Take Action to Prevent the Spread of Flu Between Pigs and People - CDC (Center for Disease Control)
Good Habits that Keep You and Your Pigs Healthy - National Pork Board (pdf)