Officials with Scioto County Emergency Management and the Scioto County Health Department are urging those attending the Scioto County Fair this week to take proper precautions when it comes to visiting the animals.
Ohio Department of Health officials have acknowledged a child attending the Clark County Fair was reported to have had direct contact with swine prior to developing an influenza-like illness, which was later confirmed to be influenza A, the first case identified in the United States this year.
Scioto County Health Commissioner Dr. Aaron Adams said people should still attend the fair and enjoy what it has to offer.
Adams offered some advice to those attending the Scioto County Fair.
Adams said there are no other possible cases of Swine Flu that he’s aware of and the best way to combat the illness is by practicing good safety habits. Those safety habits include washing your hands with soap and water after exposure to pigs.
Adams along with the Ohio Department of Health urge those attending fairs to not eat near or put anything in your mouth in areas where pigs are kept.
Jo Williams, of the OSU Extension Scioto County Office, said they encourage people to not eat in the animal barns and to wash their hands as often as they can after exposure.
Other recommendations include: don’t take toys, pacifiers, cups, baby bottles, strollers, or similar items in pig areas. Wash hands often with soap and running water before and after exposure to pigs. If soap and running water are not available use alcohol-based hand rubs. Avoid close contact with pigs that look or act ill.
“We want people to still enjoy the fair and all it has to offer, there is no need to get worked up about this. We are just asking people to use caution,” Adams said.
Rob Seaman, president of the Scioto County Fair Board, said measures have been taken to provide many opportunities for people to sanitize their hands.
Seaman said fair-goers should have fun and enjoy every aspect of the fair.
The Ohio Department of Health cautions, in some rare cases influenza can spread from pigs to people and from people to pigs. When people get the swine flu virus, it’s usually after contact with pigs and can happen in different settings including fairs.
For more information about swine flu visit, www.cdc.gov/flu/swineflu.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneallenPDT on Twitter.