Elmira/Corning Regional Airport

Swine Flu Comeback?

Swine Flu Comeback?

Southern Tier (WENY) -- Swine flu is making a comeback in the U.S., with a recent outbreak concentrated in the Midwest. It's county fair season, which means a lot of people around a lot of pigs, and people in the Southern Tier are taking precautions.

"I go in there, and I pet them, I kiss them, but I wash my hands after," said 12-year-old Michelle Parsels, who owns a pig.

Dozens of kids were at the Steuben County Fair today preparing to show their pigs in a swine show. They weren't just petting the pigs -- they were bathing them and lounging around together. The swine flu didn't really cross their minds or worry their parents.

"I always give my pigs a bath, but I make sure to wash my hands after," said Ben Houghtaling, who also owns a pig.

"I've never had issues with it or anything, so I always just make sure I carry hand sanitizer," said Autumn Buck, a parent. "When we're done messing, we just wash our hands with it."

The swine flu is transmitted by touch so the health department set up wash stations as well as hand sanitizers throughout the barn for people to wash their hands after touching the animals.

Eighty-nine pigs were entered in the annual show, and every one of them had to be cleared -- twice -- by vets.

"They all have to be examined by an accredited veterinarian and have a health certificate before they come to the fair," said Karen Hargave, swine superintendent at the fairgrounds. "When they arrive here there is a state veterinarian on the grounds and examines each animal before they're unloaded into the barn."

If there are any health issues, the animal is denied entry, and vets on site check the pigs several times a day.

The Chemung County Health Department has no reports of swine flu in the county, and the CDC shows none in New York, but three cases in Pennsylvania last year.