H3N2 Influenza Update

From Roger High, Ohio Farm Bureau director, livestock policy and executive director, Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and Ohio Sheep and Wool Program

Have you heard a lot about the recent outbreak of H3N2 Influenza at the Clinton County Fair? Well, to help provide accurate information for Farm Bureau members about the situation, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation staff members have spoken with the Ohio Department of Agriculture State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey to be able to provide the following information.

Fairs that have an outbreak of this virus may be deemed terminal and animals sent to the appropriate markets for slaughter based upon the rules of the fair exhibition. All barns that have these cases will be disinfected with the appropriate cleaning agents.

Swine do not die from the H3N2 Influenza virus, but if the proper precautions are not taken or if they are not treated properly, the animals could die from secondary infections like pneumonia.

If an exhibitor does not want an animal to be terminal they should not take a chance of exhibiting that animal at a junior fair market show. The shorter the animal is at the fair, the less risk of that animal contracting the H3N2 Influenza virus due to stress and length of incubation period of the virus.

If an animal is shown at a fair exhibition and returned home, that animal should not be taken to another fair exhibition for a minimum of seven days to make sure that animal does not have the H3N2 Influenza virus.

If an animal is sick before the fair, do not bring that animal to the exhibition. Signs of the H3N2 Influenza virus would be an animal that is off feed, lethargic, sneezing and coughing.

Exhibitors are encouraged to not share equipment with others and should avoid eating, drinking or sleeping in swine barns. Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with influenza viruses that normally circulate in swine and not people have occurred. Most commonly, human infections with variant viruses occur in people exposed to infected pigs.

Let’s enjoy our fair experiences, and remember if you are attending the fair and pet animals, please wash your hands!