Ohio State Fair on the lookout for swine flu

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio State Fair officials are warning those who plan to show their animals in the livestock exhibits to check for illnesses before they are brought to the fairgrounds.

Several cases of swine influenza were discovered at two county fairs this month.

Last week, five hogs had to be removed from the Franklin County Fair after two pigs contracted influenza.

In the beginning of the month, 300 hogs were ordered to be slaughtered after two pigs tested positive for swine flu at the Clinton County fair.

Livestock exhibitors travel across the state to show off their animals, but state fair officials warn animals won’t be able to compete if sick.

“Any animal showing any sign of illness will immediately be quarantined outside of the building away from all the other animals,” said Ohio State Fair spokesperson, Alicia Shoults.

Fair livestock safety teams will be paying close attention to the hog barn.

“So we ask that any animals that come to the Ohio State Fair haven’t been shown anywhere else within seven days prior to their arrival,” said Shoults.

Roger Hunker brought his lambs down Monday evening to prepare for competition. In a couple of days, his hogs will arrive. Hunker has been raising livestock as a fair competitor for years and says the responsibility lies with the owner.

“It’s what the vets do. It’s just visual inspection. It’s just watching them and making sure we watch what they eat,” said Hunker.

Fair officials encourage visitors to use proper hygiene. Don’t bring drinks and/or food into the barns and take advantage of hand sanitizing stations.

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