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Oregon fairs use biosecurity to protect people and animals

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Over the next several weeks, Oregon’s county fair season will be in full bloom as fairs practice the normal biosecurity protocol designed to keep both animals and people healthy:

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It’s that time of year again, and State Veterinarian Dr. Brad LeaMaster is confident that prevention and common sense will make for successful, disease-free fairs:

LEAMASTER:  “When you bring in and concentrate animals and people together, you have an opportunity for contagious diseases to be spread. So that makes us think about how do we mitigate that, how do we prevent that? That’s biosecurity.”  :16

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Biosecurity measures are designed to minimize or eliminate the risk of infectious diseases being transmitted. On-site veterinarians are the experts who help keep fairs in check:

LEAMASTER:  “Animals coming into the fair receive a veterinary inspection. So we have healthy animals coming into the fair. While they are at the fair, they are being constantly monitored for signs of disease. So any animals that get sick, would get removed and receive treatment straight away.”  :19

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Minimizing animal-to-animal contact at fairs is one step. But fair goers have an important role, too. Washing hands after interaction with animals is critical. While there is no sign in Oregon of the swine flu that has sickened people at an Indiana fair, officials this summer will be on the lookout for that and other potential animal diseases. In Salem, I’m Bruce Pokarney.

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LEAMASTER urges fair goers to use some common sense in order to protect themselves and the animals:

“It’s like your grandma taught you, it’s basic sanitation. So if you are around the animals and you happen to be close enough to touch one, when you leave the area, just wash your hands.”  :12

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LEAMASTER says there have been some reports of swine flu infecting fair goers in Indiana this summer:

“But here in the western states and specifically Oregon, we have not had any reports of any diseases yet. Certainly, we are on the lookout for them and if there are any problems at all, we’ll get the word out to folks and take immediate corrective action and protection.”  :18

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