REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — Following confirmation of variant influenza in exhibitors from the Butler County Fair, the Ohio Department of Agriculture today ordered two pigs to be sent home from the Ohio State Fair after both tested positive for H3N2 variant influenza.
Increased monitoring of hog health will continue through the end of the Ohio State Fair on Sunday. In response to the illnesses in Butler County, State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey had veterinarians monitoring hogs at the Ohio State Fair and taking the temperatures of any that looked ill. Both hogs that tested positive were running a fever at the time they were swabbed by the ODA veterinarian.
“We will continue to have veterinarians in the barns to closely monitor the hogs at the Ohio State Fair and to take temperatures and samples of any that do not look 100 percent healthy,” said Ohio Agriculture Director David Daniels.
“We’re also going to keep reminding exhibitors and visitors to keep washing their hands often, to refrain from eating and drinking in the barns, and to limit direct contact with the pigs. These are precautions people should always take around livestock because of how easy it can be to spread illness back and forth.”
In addition to the increased monitoring, ODA worked with the Ohio Expo Commission Wednesday to move additional hand sanitation stations to the swine barn at the Ohio State Fair and posted signs in the barn to remind exhibitors to take extra hygiene precautions when spending time there.
ODA has also communicated these same suggestions to county fair boards and the 4-H clubs throughout the state. Individuals should always wash hands with soap and water before and after petting or touching any animal.
Never eat, drink, or put anything in your mouth in animal areas. Older adults, pregnant women, young children, and people with weakened immune systems should be extra careful around animals.
Different from Influenza viruses such as H3N2 and its variants are not unusual in swine and can be directly transmitted from swine to people and from people to swine in the same way that all viruses can be transmitted between people, however, human to human transmission of this variant influenza strain is uncommon. Influenza viruses cannot be transmitted by eating pork or pork products.