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Risk of Zoonotic Diseases at the Fair

The fair is a great place to see all species of farm animals, from chickens to horses. In addition to animals, fairs have popular food and carnival rides. One thing to keep in mind is to wash your hands after seeing each attraction at the fair. This will lower your risk of receiving a zoonotic disease at the fair. 

Zoonotic diseases are infectious diseases that are transferred from humans to animals and vice versa. A potential risk of encountering a zoonotic disease is going into the animal barns, and interacting with the animals.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the most common zoonotic diseases are:

  • Campylobacter (Bacteria)
  • Salmonella (Bacteria)
  • E. coli O157:H7 (Bacteria)
  • Yersinia Enterocolitica (Bacteria)
  • Cryptosporidium (Parasite) 

All the animals at the fair are looked over by the on-site veterinarian. However, some bacteria and parasites are naturally found in the intestines of livestock. Even if the animal appears to be healthy, it could still be a carrier of a zoonotic disease. If you swallow any of these germs, you will have a higher chance of getting sick.

To reduce your risk of getting sick, use these practices at the fair. First, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially before you eat. If there isn’t soap available, still wash your hands with water, it is more effective than not washing them at all, or using hand sanitizer. Next, keep your food and drinks away from the animals. Another one is watching children under five, in general, they are more likely to get sick, and touch their faces. Germs can stay on clothing and shoes, wash the clothes before you wear them to another location. 

Symptoms of this include but are not limited to diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, fever, cramps, and bloody diarrhea. People with mild symptoms usually recover without treatment from a doctor. If your symptoms are severe, contact your local health clinic immediately. 

Summer time calls for attending different fairs. Enjoy these experiences all while being safe. Wash your hands often, and eat/drink away from the livestock being exhibited at the fair. 

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