Are you satisfied with the State Fair’s precautions against swine flu?

The Minnesota State Fair plans to keep its pig exhibits open this year, despite concerns about the possibility of a swine flu outbreak. Former state epidemiologist Michael Osterholm has warned that a current flu strain is being spread from pigs to people, and he urges that the fair’s swine barn be closed. Fair managers plan to watch for sick pigs and encourage people to wash their hands. Today’s Question: Are you satisfied with the State Fair’s precautions against swine flu?

  • John

    I think they should force everyone going to the state fair to go through the swine barn. Even with the high unemployment there are way too many people on the road. Thinning the herd with a little swine flu would be a good thing. Less people also means more for the rest of us.

  • lori

    The swine flu isn’t even connected to pigs. The only reason the call it swine flu is because years ago pigs had a flu that was simular. But this people swine flu does not come from pigs. We have been in pig barns and we are not worried.

  • Gary F

    Lots of people using the restroom without washing their hands then touching every ketchup bottle, doorknob, bench, midway ride railing, midway dart or ball and we are worrying about pigs?

    Then, lots of coughing runny nosed kids, horse poop on the street, and people cooped up in the sky needle.

  • Steve the Cynic

    I have a lot of respect for Michael Osterholm’s expertise on infectious diseases and public health issues, but he does seem a tad alarmist at times.

  • melissa

    The epidemiologist’s warning concerns me. He’s obviously is an expert in this – and I am not. The information that I’ve read seems to indicate that perfectly healthy pigs can carry the virus, so I’m not sure what good it does to “watch for sick pigs.” For me personally, particulary since I have small children, I will stay clear of the pig barn.

    Would it hurt the pocketbook of those who bring pigs to the Fair to close it this year? I don’t know the details of Fair participation.

  • Jim G

    Maybe…but when we go to the State Fair this Sunday we won’t be visiting the pig barns. My wife raised a pet goat, so we spend most of time with the goats so she can get in some needed goat ear scratching.

    Michael Osterholm is a very conscientious, prudent, world renowned epidemiologist whose opinions should be given due consideration when assessing the risk to the general population. He is one serious scientist.

    Remember it was a variant of the swine flu which killed more people during the First World War than total combat deaths. Could the swine flu virus jump to humans? Yes, it already has. Could it mutate to create a significant threat to public health? Yes, that’s the warning that epidemiologist Osterholm is sounding. The managers of the State Fair are marketers. Who do you trust more when your kid’s health is on the line?

    Oh… One more nugget of wisdom gleaned from a lifetime in the classroom. When you wash your hands at the barns use soap and sing ” Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” all the way through otherwise you’re just pretending to wash your hands.

  • Brian

    My understanding is that swine flu is an air born disease. State Fair officials should print pig pig snouts on respirators and hand them out as a promotion.It sure would be cute seeing everyone walking around with those on.

  • Bev

    I am furious with the Stata Fair officials. Flu viruses are microbial terrorists and we are fools to do nothing when we know they are in our presence. These officials are cowards and will have huge regrets to live with if mutation predictions become headlines in the news.

    When experts as respected and renown as Mike Osterholm give advice about our community’s public health, we should all sit up and listen. He is not, after all, some doom-and-gloom, self-proclaimed expert. He is the real deal. Mike Osterholm has earned our respect with a steady, always informed approach to our public health.

    Who are the State Fair officials to be taking risks with us, my children’s and beloved elderly parents’ health? Afterall, if this is given a chance to mutate, it will hurt and likely kill randomly (anyone remember H1N1?).

  • Bonnie Wilcox (@Bonnie_Wilcox)

    Yes.

  • Ann

    I believe Mr. Osterholm. The state can’t make an unbiased decision. Personally, I don’t like pork products and am not interested in swine.

  • Steve D

    Michael Osterholm may not be alarmist enough, doesn’t anyone remember Public TV’s series on epigenetics?? Viruses love to evolve as the numbers of transmissions goes up the chances this virus may evolve into a human pathogen that is airborne goes up too!!

  • Rick

    No. I don’t think they should have pigs at the fair this year.

  • david

    I guess if it doesn’t kill you it might make you stronger.

  • GregX

    This year – I aint a goin into no pig barn. It stanks to high hevin.

    Next Year – Its Farmville at the State Fair – no live animals of any kind. Just thousands upon thousands of smart-phone jockeys standing inside the annual MN PArking Lot – twiddlin their thumbs.

  • Tricky Mitt

    I would be more worried about the donkey barn.

    twitter.com/tricky_mitt

  • Rich

    Pig on BBQ Spit or Baby Back Ribs. Can’t go wrong

  • Jamie

    I’m disgusted with the State Fair’s plan to have the pigs there. They’ve been warned of a serious threat and are still endangering us all. Even if we don’t go in the pig barn or go to the State Fair, we can still become the victims of this situation. I work with people who will be working near the pigs at the State Fair so am concerned that they could pick up this microbe and bring it back to the office. If I get this flu and survive, I’m going to sue the State Fair organization. I’m serious.

    They’re keeping the pigs in because they’re afraid it’ll cost them money and because people like “lori” here will be upset if they bar them from the State Fair. By the way, Lori, since when do you know more than a preeminent epidemiologist? Just because you’ve been in pig barns doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t get sick or pass the microbe on to other people. It’s simply irresponsible to ignore this threat.

  • JS

    “Who are the State Fair officials to be taking risks with us, my children’s and beloved elderly parents’ health?”

    Are you kidding me, Bev? If you are concerned about swine flu from pigs at the state fair, and you make the choice to bring yourself, your children, and your beloved elderly parents to the fair, then you are the one choosing to take the risk.

    The state fair is not mandatory attendance for MN residents, it’s fun and entertainment and leisure and education etc. If you truly are concerned, and don’t want to risk it, then don’t go.

  • Marty

    Yes, and if there’s anything to the immunity benefits of pot mentioned in “Cabin in the Woods”, I’ll be prepared with smiles and munchies.

    I always wash my hands after touching animals, too bad there aren’t wash, rinse and dry tunnels for the animals (maybe that would be kinda distressing, get them nicely high first).