A whole barn of hogs that were scheduled to compete in the Clinton County Fair on July 13, has been quarantined before the show even started after a state veterinarian confirmed one case of swine flu.
According to officials, the whole barn had been emptied by the morning of July 14, and all 280 hogs were scheduled for slaughter that night. The barn was disinfected but public health officials urge anyone visiting state fairs, especially those who plan to see livestock, to practice good hygiene in order to avoid contracting disease.
Quick Actions Taken
According to fair officials, one of the hogs in the show exhibited signs of fever so they quarantined the barn during the show and deemed it off-limits to the public. Only the Fair officials, breeders, and exhibitors were allowed in the affected barn.
"I noticed the sheriff all around it and I knew something wasn't right," Larry Satterphwaite recounted.
The feverish hog was tested for the disease. The following day, officials received confirmation that it was positive for swine flu. Fair officials also believe that the disease had affected a few of the other pigs in the barn and decided to make all 280 hogs "Terminal," a term which means the hog will be scheduled for slaughter after the show.
At least two other hogs have also exhibited symptoms of swine flu after further testing.
Impact On Hog Breeding Community
Usually, only the winning hog is deemed terminal and other pigs could either be sold — terminal or live — or brought back to the owner's farm for other purposes such as breeding, so to kill off such a huge number of hogs really shook Clinton's hog-raising community.
"It's been a hard day. Got a lot of kids that have gilts or barrows or whatever that we were going to retain and now they've got to be slaughtered. It's very unfortunate," hog breeder Joey Johnson expressed.
Clinton County Agricultural Society President Scot Gerber, however, assured that the incident will not make a huge financial impact on the affected hog breeders.
"Those kids are not going to be hurt financially ... They will go through our sale as normal," Gerber said.
Gerber is likely referring to the hogs which tested negative for H3N2 virus.
Public Advised To Practice Good Hygiene
The Ohio Departments of Agriculture and Health have urged the public to always wash their hands properly whenever they visit livestock in fairs, especially if they touch the animals. They also ask that visitors refrain from eating, drinking, or placing anything in their mouths while around livestock. That said, it is best to keep children from getting too close to the animals as a precautionary measure.
Pregnant women, older people, and anyone with weak immune systems should also stay away from livestock exhibits since swine flu can be contracted by direct contact with an affected pig.