Although no confirmed cases of swine flu — Influenza A H3N2v — have been reported in the Mahoning Valley, Canfield Fair organizers and health officials are reminding people to wash their hands regularly to prevent the spread of germs.
Fair Manager Bev Fisher said additional signs will be posted at barns reminding fairgoers to wash their hands and avoid taking food and drinks into the barns. Hand sanitizer stations and restrooms are readily available on the fairgrounds.
As a precaution, the piglets have been moved from Old MacDonald’s Barn to other pig displays at the 4-H area, she said.
Dr. Doug Wiley, the fair veterinarian, said he and his staff check all animals at the fair daily and will monitor the pigs to see if any might be sneezing or coughing.
“We do a visual inspection of all barns twice a day. ... All the livestock have health papers, and we deal with any issues that arise. If the animals are sick, we send them home,” he said.
Any “sick or stressed hogs that have a fever” will be sent to an off-site quarantine, Wiley said, adding that no cases have been reported in Mahoning County.
Dr. John Venglarcik, medical director for the Mahoning County District Board of Health, said the new swine flu is not spread by aerosol like measles.
He said the cases that have been reported in Indiana and western Ohio are associated with close contact with swine. The 17 cases in Butler County are believed to have been contacted by people who had contact with pigs at the Butler County Fair.
No deaths have been reported from H3N2v flu.
“It seems to be a mild illness,” Venglarcik said.
No cases were reported at fairs in Trumbull, Columbiana and Ashtabula counties.
“Caution is the word of the day; Come to the fair, and enjoy yourself,” Dr. Venglarcik said.