Special Edition: Swine Health Update - Swine Influenza at Michigan Fairs


Swine Influenza at Michigan Fairs


Three fairs (Muskegon, Ingham, and Cass counties) have had confirmed cases of swine influenza A. All three have been subtyped and are H3N2. This is a common influenza virus seen in the pig population. 

Swine influenza is a zoonotic disease and can occasionally be transmitted to humans. There are three confirmed human cases associated with pigs at these fairs. Two in Muskegon and one in Ingham. Both the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and area local health departments have been contacted and are managing the situation from the perspective of human health. Human infection with influenza viruses from pigs are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to infected pigs, such as in pig barns and livestock exhibits housing pigs at fairs. 

The Animal Industry Division has been working closely with Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan Association of Fairs and Exhibitions to enhance communications to the remaining Michigan county fairs about proactive measures they can take to prevent swine influenza at the fair. Weekly conference call are being used to give a situational briefing to the fairs and discuss preventative measures they can take. In addition MSU Extension has created a swine influenza page where information and resources for fairs and exhibitions are being hosted. 

Key messages being shared with fairs are:

  • importance of washing hands frequently,
  • no food and drink in the barn,
  • restricting access to the barn,
  • cleaning and disinfecting common areas and equipment,
  • if possible reduce number days pigs are at the fair,
  • keep pigs cool,
  • and do not work pigs during heat of the day.

If you are a fair veterinarian, please reiterate these messages and the available resources at MSU Extension's swine influenza page to your fair. As a reminder, a pig that has a temperature 105 degrees F or higher is reportable to the State Veterinarian at 800-292-3939. When AID receives a report of a febrile pig or a pig with influenza like illness (lethargy, anorexia, sneezing, coughing, nasal/ocular secretions) we partner with the fair veterinarian and the fair management on the following steps:

  • Contact the fair manager and fair veterinarian for confirmation. 
  • If history and signs are consistent with influenza, the sick pig is isolated (in a different location from swine barn, away from other animals and people if possible) and we try to limit nose-nose contact of neighbor pigs with other pigs, if possible, while we get a AID veterinarian to visit the fair.
  • The AID veterinarian will observe pigs in the swine barn for influenza like illness and examine the sick pig and collect samples for testing as judged appropriate. A nasal swab is the sample of choice. 
  • If there is no evidence of multiple pigs in barn with influenza like illness, then only the sick pig is isolated and the swine barn operates as normal, though neighbor pigs are monitored closely for illness.  
  • If multiple pigs are sick in the barn, or over time begin to develop influenza like illness in the barn, then the barn is closed down to the public and only essential personnel are allowed in to care for animals, while we wait for test results from the laboratory. 
  • Based on results and degree of illness in barn, the swine barn is either restricted partially, completely or not at all

Each fair is different and it's important to remember it is always our goal to protect pigs, exhibitors and the public in partnership with local fair management. If you have any questions, please contact us at the email below.  

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Contact the Animal Industry Division:

Constitution Hall
525 West Allegan Street
6th Floor, P.O. Box 30017
Lansing, MI 48909


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