Ohio’s fair season is underway across the state and leaders at the Ohio Departments of Agriculture (ODA) and Health (ODH) are reminding Ohioans to practice good hygiene when visiting livestock exhibits this summer.
“Ohio’s fairs are great places to enjoy some summer fun, but visitors should remember some illnesses can be directly transmitted between animals and humans,” said ODH Director Lance Himes. “Simple steps like good hand-washing can help stop the spread of any illness and make sure your fair visit is a safe one.”
Visitors should always wash their hands with soap and water before and after petting or touching any animal. Never eat, drink or put anything in your mouth in animal areas. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to leave strollers outside the animal exhibits and carry small children. Older adults, pregnant women, young children and people with weakened immune systems should consider avoiding animal areas.
“Fairs are the highlight of the summer in many communities for many families across Ohio and we want to ensure they stay that way,” said ODA Director David T. Daniels. “Maintaining healthy people and animals is our top priority, and we encourage all fair guests to follow posted signs and make smart decisions when visiting the fair.
ODA is actively working with fair boards to increase access to hand sanitizers and hand-washing stations. Frequent hand-washing can lower your risk of getting sick from influenza, salmonella, e. Coli and other illnesses. In addition, ODA has provided information and encouraged fair organizers to post reminders about good hygiene in animal areas to help protect the health of fairgoers. Ohio’s fair veterinarians are trained and encouraged to closely monitor fair livestock and poultry for clinical signs of illness.
Exhibitors who believe their animal may be sick should immediately contact their barn manager and fair veterinarian. Fair guests who experience illness should contact a medical professional, and their local health district.