Every year across the state hundreds of youth exhibit swine in County and State fairs. Raising livestock takes up time and resources for these youth and often the market sale provides a monetary reward for their hard work.It is a stressful but also rewarding time of year.
Exhibitors can get more than pride and money from their swine. Exhibitors and spectators are also at risk of contracting a zoonotic disease if these swine are not properly managed. Diseases can spread between other swine but also to humans. Zoonotic diseases are diseases and infections spread from animal to human and can be prevented using proper protocol.
Zoonotic diseases can spread through many ways including but not limited to air, direct or indirect contact with swine or swine wastes such as fecal matter/urine and blood, insect bites, or contaminated food and water.
Some examples of biosecurity measures to protect your animals and yourself include:
- Eliminating contact with your pigs if you have touched other swine within 24 hour time-frame
- Limiting visitors and visitor contact with your pigs
- Having proper pest control
- Quarantine of new animals for 7 days, and caring for previously owned animals before the new arrivals
- Not sharing animal care or manure equipment
- Using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as gloves, rubber boots and masks, especially when working with new animals.
- Cleaning and disinfecting equipment, clothing, supplies, and especially your hands!
- If any animals do die, having a necropsy performed or a veterinarian look the animal over to identify if disease was a reason for passing.
Hand washing is the most effective method to reduce disease spread. Encourage visitors, friends, and family to wash often. Be a good role model and wash your hands often, even if you didn’t touch any animals. Remember, objects such as gates, feeders, and equipment can also be contaminated with disease microorganisms.
For more information consult this document provided from the Ohio State University Extension.
What Can Youth Do?
The table below illustrates some good points for zoonoitc disease control before, during, and after swine shows.
Showing swine for 4-H Youth Development is a fantastic opportunity to learn skills far beyond only raising an animal. Although there are risks associated with every activity, biosecurity is easily implemented. If proper protocol is followed, animal rearing and production is a worthwhile project for any 4-H member!
For more information regarding 4-H Swine click here.
|Use best practices (described above) such as using PPE||Monitor your animal’s health and eating||If you get sick within 10 days of showing, consult your doctor and inform them of your contact with animals.|
|Clean and Disinfect facility often||Report any illness of your animal or someone else’s||Quarantine show animals for a minimum of 7 days. Longer periods are better.|
|Limit animal exposure to new animals and people||Do not borrow equipment from other exhibitors||Clean all equipment used, clothing, and trailers immediately.|
|Have good pest control||Wash your hands!||Know who your animal neighbors were and check to make sure those animals have not fallen ill.|
|Never bring an unhealthy animal to a fair||Do not eat or drink in the animal areas|
|Evaluate your animal’s health daily||Reduce exposure of your animals to others|
|Get your animal properly vaccinated||Be aware of where fecal matter/urine are being collected. Do not allow contaminated water to be in human areas.|
|If you are sick, stay home!|