(CNN) – A day at the state fair is supposed to be all about carnival rides, cotton candy and maybe checking out the animals in the exhibition pens. CDC researchers say you need to be careful at the fair and pay attention to hygiene. Especially if you plan to visit the animals.
More than a dozen children came down with swine flu after visiting the pig barns at state fairs. That’s according to a report from the CDC. 18 people, 16 of them children, were infected with a type of swine flu not seen before in humans. All of them reported some kind of exposure to pigs at agricultural fairs.
13 said they’d either handled or touched the animals, one reported indirect contact, but four said they’d simply passed through the exhibit. All of the patients are now fully recovered and researchers say they’ve seen no evidence of person-to-person transmission.
They warn that fair organizers should take steps to prevent infections in humans, including having a vet on hand, installing handwashing stations around the swine exhibit, and limiting the time pigs are at the fairground to three days.
After petting an animal, children should not be allowed to eat until after they’ve washed their hands or at least used hand sanitizers.
All visitors should avoid putting their hands on their faces or in their mouths while at the fair. Most importantly, experts say everyone six months and older should get yearly flu shots.