Swine influenza is a virus that can be shared between people and pigs but does not impact pork products which remain safe to eat.

Swine influenza, sometimes referred to as swine flu, is a virus that can circulate in the pig population and does not affect pork products. Influenza viruses are classified by the types and further classified by strains. Like people, pigs are susceptible to many strains of flu, and, like people, a full recovery is expected. 

Swine influenza is a zoonotic disease and can occasionally be transmitted to humans. Human infection with flu viruses from pigs are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to infected pigs, such as in pig barns and livestock exhibits  at fairs. Exhibitors and those in close proximity to the animals are considered at highest risk and should follow proper biosecurity and good hygiene practices to protect themselves and their animals. Soap and water are very effective in deactivating/killing the virus.

Swine influenza at county fairs

In 2019, three fairs had confirmed cases of swine influenza in pigs and zero confirmed cases in humans. 

Cases of swine influenza and suspected swine influenza are managed by a team that includes representatives from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, area local health departments, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, MSU Extension, and fair personnel.

Tips for helping to keep people healthy

Fair families and the general public attending fairs should practice good personal hygiene while visiting these events. The following are good practices:

  • Wash hands regularly: entering and leaving the barn, after touching animals and before eating. This is important for both fair families and fair visitors. 
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers and wipe stations can also be used to disinfect hands after contact with animals
  • Do not allow any food or beverages in areas with animals. 
  • Do not consume food or beverages in areas with animals.

Consideration should be taken to minimize general public and exhibitor time in the barn with pigs when influenza is a concern. 

Seek medical care if exhibitors or visitors develop influenza-like symptoms.

Preventative Tips for Fairs & Exhibitions

As an extra precaution to protect exhibitors, the public and pigs at fairs and events, it is suggested that event officials implement preventative strategies at their fair or exhibition that will help to ensure proper biosecurity and hygiene practices are followed. Several resources are available to assist in developing and implementing preventative strategies.

Preventative Tips for Fairs & Exhibitions

Fair and Event Resources

In order to help the public understand the importance of good hygiene practices, resources and proper signage are available courtesy of MSU Extension and its partners.

Fair and Event Resources

For More Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials (NASAHO) and National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) Measures to Minimize Influenza Transmission at Swine Exhibitions

NASPHV Minimizing Influenza Transmission duringExhibitions – Checklistfor Protecting Guests, Exhibitors, and Pigs

CDC What People Who Raise Pigs Need To Know About Influenza (Flu)

CDC Take Action to Prevent the Spread of Flu Between Pigs and People 

CDC Key Facts for People Exhibiting Pigs at Fairs

CDC Flu Can Spread Between Pigs and People 


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