State Fair pigs examined, none sent home due to flu concerns

Categories: Health
Pig behind fence.jpg
Vicky TGAW
All the pigs at the Minnesota State Fair apparently looked healthy like this little guy.
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New flu strain acquired through contact with pigs

The Minnesota State Fair examined the 250 pigs that arrived at the fairgrounds on Wednesday, and none of the pigs were sent home because of flu concerns, according to the Pioneer Press.

According to a Minnesota Department of Health statement, there is a new flu strain in the state that people acquire through contact with pigs. Health officials said, however, that there is little reason to avoid going to the State Fair because the flu is relatively mild.

Nonetheless, on Tuesday, an expert in infectious diseases at the University of Minnesota called on the fair to cancel the pig exhibit rather than risk what could result in a pandemic flu virus. Still, state and federal health officials said the risk is low.

Health officials have, however, created signs that will outline precautions fairgoers can take.

Fairgoers should not eat, drink or put anything in their mouths while in animal exhibit areas, and should also wash their hands with soap and water after any exposure to animals, according to the MDH.

Those at high risk for flu complications -- children under age 5, people age 65 and older, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems -- are advised not to enter the Swine Barn.

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