Swine influenza at 2017 county fairs
Information as of July 14, 2017:
- At this time, there have been no cases of swine influenza diagnosed at any Michigan fairs or exhibitions.
- Swine influenza H3N2 was recently diagnosed at a county fair in Wilmington, Ohio.
Tips for helping to keep people healthy
- Communicate the need to wash hands regularly: entering and leaving barn, after touching animals and before eating and drinking. This is important for both exhibitors and fair visitors.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizers and wipe stations can also be used to disinfect hands after contact with animals.
- Minimize general public and exhibitor time in the barn with pigs. Consider only allowing foot traffic through one area of the barn. Minimize the physical contact between pigs and people
- Seek medical care if exhibitors or visitors develop influenza-like symptoms.
Tips for helping to keep pigs healthy
- Animal check-ins provide a key opportunity to identify sick or symptomatic pigs prior to them entering the barn. Make sure to do a thorough examination of hogs at check-in.
- Continuously monitor pigs for signs of sickness throughout their exhibition time and notify your swine superintendent if pigs become symptomatic. Things to monitor include: Feed/water consumption. When pigs are off feed or depressed, it may be a sign that they are becoming ill.
- Fever, nasal discharge, high respiration or heart rate, sneezing, coughing or barking.
- Abnormal temperatures (normal temperature for a pig is 101.5 – 103.5 degrees Fahrenheit). If the temperature is equal to or greater than 105 degrees F, report to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at 800-292-3939.
- If sick pigs are identified at check-in or throughout the fair, immediately move sick pigs off-site or isolate them from other animals on the fairgrounds. Continue to observe pigs in adjacent pens for signs of sickness.
The influenza virus incubation time is one to four days; sending pigs to processing as early as possible will reduce the likelihood of clinical illness and spread of virus from pigs to people as well as pigs to pigs. Reminder: pigs with fevers should not be sent to processing, however, once fever has passed they may enter the food chain. Additional strategies to reduce the spread of the virus include:
- Shortening the amount of time that pigs are at the fair (reducing the number of days pigs are exhibited at the fair).
- Closing swine barn gates to the public after the pigs have been on site for 72 hours.
Stress can increase the risk of illness in hogs. In hot weather, it is important to reduce the stress on pigs as much as possible. Strategies include:
- Keeping pigs cool and hydrated. Sprinkle a few drops of cool water at the base of the animal’s head or the shoulder every 15 to 20 minutes during the heat of the day. This will keep them cool.
- Auctioning pigs without running them through the sale ring - instead, have the seller only in the ring.
- Moving the sale or show time to a cooler part of the day.
Transporting pigs to the fair
- Transportation is a stressful time for pigs during periods of heat. Avoid moving pigs during the heat of the day.
- Remove feed from pigs for 12 hours before shipment. Do not remove water.
- Provide additional time when loading pigs.
- Load fewer pigs to allow maximum air movement. Open all vents and slats.
- When transporting pigs, remember that shavings hold heat and can cause pigs to become heat stressed. It is recommended to use no more than a ½” to 1” layer of bedding and allow pigs to access the cool trailer floor.
- Keep vehicles in constant motion. Do not stop during the heat of the day. Avoid stops that other exhibitors may be using, such as gas stations or convenience stores.
Biosecurity tips for exhibitors at fairs
- You cannot get influenza from eating pork or handling pork products.
- As with all meat, pork is safe to eat when proper cooking procedures are followed and meat reaches the appropriate internal cooking temperature. USDA recommends cooking pork roasts, steaks and chops to 145 degrees Fahrenheit with a three-minute rest time before carving or consuming. Ground pork patties and ground pork mixtures should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Also cook all organ and variety meats (such as heart, kidney, liver, tongue and chitterlings) to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
A printable version of these preventative tips is available for your convenience.