Swine influenza, sometimes referred to as swine flu, is a virus that commonly circulates in the pig population. Influenza viruses are classified by the types and further classified by strains. Like people, pigs are susceptible to many strains of flu.
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 housing pigs at fairs. Exhibitors and caretakers are those at highest risk and should be following proper biosecurity to protect themselves and their animals. Soap and water are very effective in deactivating/killing the virus.
Swine influenza at 2016 Michigan county fairs
Information as of August 11, 2016.
Swine influenza H3N2 has been confirmed at three Michigan fairs: Muskegon County Fair, Ingham County Fair and Cass County Fair.
- Both the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and area local health departments have been contacted and are managing the situation from the perspective of human health.
Tips for helping to keep people healthy
- 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.
- Do not allow any food or beverages in the swine barn.
- Communicate the need to wash hands regularly: entering and leaving barn, after touching animals and before eating. 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.
- 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, we suggest event officials implement preventative strategies at their fair or exhibition that will help to ensure proper biosecurity and hygiene practices are followed.
Fair and Event Resources
Find signs and other resources courtesy of MSU Extension and its partners that help the public understand the importance of good biosecurity practices.
February 2, 2017 | Julie Thelen | Swine exhibitors can be proactive by using different strategies to help reduce stress and minimize the spread of disease at their events this year.
February 1, 2017 | Julie Thelen | Tips and best practices for preparing and handling biosecurity at your fair.
August 2, 2016 | Lisa Treiber | Recommendations and other information for people with high risk factors for Influenza A (H1N1).
August 2, 2016 | Jeannie Nichols | Influenza A (H1N1) information and how to continue to cook and prepare pork meals safely.
March 14, 2014 | Beth Ferry | Consider vaccination and biosecurity protocols for the 2014 show season.
September 3, 2013 | Jeannie Nichols | Is it safe to eat pork?
August 30, 2013 | Beth Ferry | Disease can spread quickly when pigs from different areas are comingled at events like county fairs and jackpot shows.
May 2, 2013 | Beth Ferry | Vaccinating your pigs for swine influenza can decrease the spread of the disease.
August 23, 2012 | Beth Ferry | People who come into contact with animals should use good hygiene practices to prevent exposure to influenza viruses.