Swine influenza, sometimes referred to as swine flu, is a virus that can circulate in the pig population but is generally not fatal and does not affect the meat 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 housing pigs at fairs. Exhibitors and those in close proximity to the animals are considered at highest risk and should follow proper biosecurity practices to protect themselves and their animals. Soap and water are very effective in deactivating/killing the virus.
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
- 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
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.
July 21, 2017 | Beth Ferry | Protect your commercial production from summer spread of influenza.
July 18, 2017 | Beth Ferry | As county fairs ramp up in Michigan, fairs and exhibitors need to be proactive in reducing the spread of disease.
July 13, 2017 | Katie Ockert | Biosecurity related to 4-H projects is a matter of high priority. Taking simple precautions will protect animals, members and consumers.
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.
November 2, 2016 | Julie Thelen | Tips for teaching youth about concerns relating to human and animal health including influenza, One Health and careers.
August 2, 2016 | Lisa Treiber | Recommendations and other information for people with high risk factors for Influenza A.
August 2, 2016 | Jeannie Nichols | Influenza information and how to continue to cook and prepare pork meals safely.
July 5, 2016 | Julie Thelen | Take a deeper look at the science involved in animal production by exploring virology and bacteriology.
August 11, 2015 | Julie Thelen | Empower youth to answer questions and speak with attendees in the animal barns at your next agricultural event.