ST. PAUL, Minn. - So far there are no confirmed cases of H3N2v, the new swine flu, in Minnesota. Health officials hope to keep it that way as fair season goes into full swing.
About 1,000 pigs are expected to compete during the Minnesota State Fair this year. The swine barn is always a big attraction but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning. Nationally, many of the swine flu cases have occurred in children who work with pigs or show them off at fairs, according to Kris Ehresmann, the Director of the Infectious Disease Division with the Minnesota Department of Health.
Ehresmann says there are simple steps you can take to be safe and still have fun. Many fair organizers have already worked with the Health and Agriculture Department to put up educational signs and have installed hand washing stations.
Ehresmann says good hand washing and not eating or drinking around swine will help keep visitors healthy. High risk groups like children under five years old and people older than 65 should consider not going into the swine barn.
Brienna Schuette, spokesperson for the State Fair, said veterinarians will evaluate all pigs competing at the fair when they arrive and will continue to monitor their health during their stay.
Symptoms of the swine flu are similar to the seasonal human flu and include fever, cough, runny nose and chills.
Health officials say if you feel like you have the swine flu call your doctor immediately and let them know you've been around swine.
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