Chelsea Community Fair Prepared for Swine Flu





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By Seth Kinker, skinker@thesuntimesnews.com

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Livingston County Health Department (LCHD) announced that two confirmed cases of influenza A, in this case swine flu, have been found in individuals with exposure to swine at the Fowlerville Family Fair.

The Fowlerville Fair took place Jul. 23 – 28 with several pigs from the fair testing positive for swine flu on Jul. 27. We talked to Eric McCalla, Chelsea Fair Board President, about what that means for the Chelsea Community Fair coming up Aug. 21 – Aug. 25.



“The biggest thing about swine flu is, it’s nothing new,” said McCalla. “It’s been around for years, that’s why we have those preventative signs up at all of our barns. ‘Don’t touch the animals.’ ‘Don’t eat or drink inside the barn.’ Those are all things we are trying to convey to the public they may not know.”

The Chelsea Fair and many others take preventative measures to try and prevent these like telling their members to regularly clean out the pens, which keeps out moisture and things from growing.

McCalla compared the swine flu to someone in the work place having strep throat, the chances are there for anyone to get it. But taking measures such as washing hands and cleaning desks are ways to prevent the transmission.

“At our fair in Chelsea we have the signs and the disinfecting stations outside the barns,” said McCalla. “So as people move in and out they can go from those stations. Our veterinary check, our vets take a look at all the animals before they’re unloaded off their trailer. Lots of things are done beforehand, and the last couple weeks we’ve had two giant swine shows in the state of Michigan, in Monroe and Jackson counties, and they had no incidents of swine flu and those were recent.”

When cases are announced, the superintendent of the hog club educates members . Locally, they’re encouraged to keep an eye on their pigs and come fair time, continued measures are in place to look out for the swine flu. Officials will go through the barns every day during the fair looking for signs of sick animals.

“The kids that raise hogs every day look at their hog and say, ‘ok I know that this one is acting completely normal’ or ‘its acting off,’” said McCalla. “Many of the people that have done this for years watch and look for the signs. As far as Fowlerville and Livingston county, there’s a case around which could mean multiple things. You don’t know how it got to the farm, it could just be one farm, could’ve been someone tracking it in on their shoe, you never know. So, it’s just having preventative measures, as much as we possibly can, to make sure that it doesn’t happen at our fair. Obviously, nothing is 100 percent full proof, but we do everything we can.”

The livestock judging is scheduled for Aug. 21 and 22, with numbers up in every category this year, the format will remain the same except for horses coming in on Aug. 18 and 19 for their own show.

The Chelsea Community Fair runs from Aug. 21 – 25 this year, for more information visit http://chelseafair.org

 

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Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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