Flu in State Fair Pigs - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Flu in State Fair Pigs

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Three pigs exhibited at the North Dakota State Fair last week have tested positive for an influenza strain that can be transmitted to humans.

The North Dakota Department of Agriculture reports the three pigs appeared healthy when they were tested on arrival at the fairgrounds on July 22nd, but became ill while at the Fair.

They were removed from the fairgrounds at the recommendation of veterinarians on July 25th and returned to their home counties.

Large Animal Veterinarian, Doctor Russell Behm, saw the animals and the collected samples that were later confirmed as H3N2.

Behm says this type of influenza spreads among swine by contact with droplets created through coughing and direct contact.

Behm could not confirm where the virus originated from but says that genetic testing of the virus may help trace it.

He also added that the three pigs were not necessarily housed side by side at the fair and it is possible for an animal to be a long term carrier of the virus.

Officials with the Fair say there have been no reported human cases of influenza related to the pigs.

And they say it's the first time something like this has happened at the Fair.

(Renae Korslien, ND State Fair General Manager) "Well, we work with the state vets all year long and they up write our open class book and get ready and help us with the rules and the precautions that we should prepare for, for before fair. So they check and inspect the animals before they get off the trailers, and especially the pigs this year, they did make sure they all had their health certificates."

State Veterinarian Susan Keller says swine producers concerned about their pigs having contracted the disease at the Fair should contact a veterinarian.

(Beth Carlson, Deputy State Veterinarian) "While we don't have any overwhelming concern, you know, there's not going to be an epidemic of the swine influenza. But we want people to be aware, and it's a good reminder for people. You know, there's signs at the fair that say 'Wash your hands. If you've been sick, don't come into the barn' ... And it's a good reminder to actually listen to those signs."

If you visited the pig barn at the Fair and develop flu-like symptoms, tell your doctor about the potential exposure to the pigs.


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