ATLANTA -- Swine flu’s incidence has prompted state officials to issue a warning Tuesday to take simple precautions during this fall’s county fairs and agricultural exhibitions.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention based in Georgia calculates this year has seen 225 cases of H3N2v, commonly known as swine flu.
“Georgia has not had a confirmed human case of H3N2v, and I’d like to keep it that way,” said Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, state commissioner of public health.
Most cases have been mild, generally involving children, and with few hospitalizations.
The young, the elderly, pregnant women and patients suffering long-term illness are particularly vulnerable.
“While the risk is minimal, we want young people participating in youth livestock projects this fall to be mindful and remember the ‘common-sense’ training they have received from their 4-H & FFA advisors,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black.
He stresses that the influenza isn’t spread through eating pork and prefers not to call it “swine flu” to avoid confusion.
The common-sense training involves simply washing hands after touching pigs, and don’t be around them if you have the flu. Vulnerable groups might want to avoid visiting animal displays that include pigs, and everyone should eat the caramel apples, corn dogs and cotton candy outside before strolling through the animal barns.
The state requires animals at state fairs and Junior National Shows to have a certificate proving a recent inspection by a veterinarian.
“There is no reason to stay away from fairs,” Black said.