FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. - Doctor Tom Hagerty's Day 1 at the Minnesota State Fair started at 5 a.m. By noon, he was still making the rounds. As a fair veterinarian, he was checking all the animals, but he was paying special attention to the Swine Barn.
"We just keep circulating around, looking to see if we see any signs of illness or hear any signs of illness," Hagerty told KARE 11.
The Swine Flu, or H3N2, has generated a lot of buzz across the world.
"It's not passed between people. It's passed from pigs to people or from pigs to pigs. Our concern really is with the pigs. We don't want other pigs to get infected and take it home to their herds," Hagerty said.
The talk about that particular flu did keep some people away from the usually popular barn.
"I thought that right away. It seemed less crowded in the barn today. That's too bad. It's on our route every year. We would be sad not to see them," said Katie Thomas, a nurse from Medina.
She didn't hesitate to bring her two kids, 2 and 6 years old, into the barn.
"I think, wash your hands (and you'll be fine). I think it's a huge part of the state fair and we want to support them," she concluded.
There were plenty of signs and the hand washing stations in the barn were quite busy on day one. Swine flu was not, however, driving the conversation.
"Actually we haven't gotten a lot of questions," explained Sarah Marketon, the 2013 MN State Pork Ambassador from Howard Lake.
Jill Rensler, the Director of Education for the MN Pork Board, said the turnout seemed fine. She expected plenty of people in the barn.
"They're (the CDC and the Dept. of Health) making an educated choice on whether the barns are open and putting up enough hand washing stations," Rensler commented.
And so the swine barns stayed open. By midday, vets had not seen a hint of H3N2 in the barn.
"Just don't eat food in there, wash your hands, and don't get up close and personal with the pigs," Hagerty concluded.
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