HASTINGS, Mich. (WOOD) — Summer has returned, and so has the risk of becoming sick from pigs, birds and other animals at Michigan’s county fairs.
The Barry County Health Department is reminding families to take extra precautions when visiting fairground animals or petting zoos.
Health officials say many visitors are sickened by flu, Salmonella and E. coli after encountering animals carrying harmful germs.
People can pick up the flu through the saliva of livestock when they cough. The germs are transmitted when visitors then touch their own nose or mouth.
People can also become sick from Salmonella and E. coli if they are exposed to animal feces, which commonly carries the bacteria.
Barry County health officials recommend the following steps to protect yourself:
- Wash hands immediately after touching animals and their pens.
- Do not bring food, drinks, strollers, bottles, pacifiers, cups, or toys into areas that house animals, such as barns.
- Do not share your food with animals.
- Never allow children to put their thumbs, fingers, or objects in their mouth while interacting with animals.
Health experts encourage anyone who suffers fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, or gastrointestinal problems shortly after interacting with animals to contact their doctor.