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ABSTRACT OF THE WEEK

Zoonoses and public health.
Volume 65 | Issue 1 (February 2018)

Do animal exhibitors support and follow recommendations to prevent transmission of variant influenza at agricultural fairs? A survey of animal exhibitor households after a variant influenza virus outbreak in Michigan.

Zoonoses Public Health. February 2018;65(1):195-201.
R J Stewart1, J Rossow2, J T Conover3, E E Lobelo4, S Eckel5, K Signs6, M G Stobierski7, S C Trock8, A M Fry9, S J Olsen10, M Biggerstaff11
1 Epidemic Intelligence Service, CDC, Atlanta, GA, USA.; 2 Epidemiology Elective Program, Division of Scientific Education and Professional Development, Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services, Atlanta, GA, USA.; 3 Michigan State University Extension, East Lansing, MI, USA.; 4 Influenza Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.; 5 Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Lansing, MI, USA.; 6 Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Lansing, MI, USA.; 7 Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Lansing, MI, USA.; 8 Influenza Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.; 9 Influenza Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.; 10 Influenza Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.; 11 Influenza Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Published 2017. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

Abstract

Influenza A viruses circulate in swine and can spread rapidly among swine when housed in close proximity, such as at agricultural fairs. Youth who have close and prolonged contact with influenza-infected swine at agricultural fairs may be at increased risk of acquiring influenza virus infection from swine. Animal and human health officials have issued written measures to minimize influenza transmission at agricultural exhibitions; however, there is little information on the knowledge, attitudes, and practice (KAP) of these measures among animal exhibitors. After an August 2016 outbreak of influenza A(H3N2) variant ("H3N2v") virus infections (i.e., humans infected with swine influenza viruses) in Michigan, we surveyed households of animal exhibitors at eight fairs (including one with known H3N2v infections) to assess their KAP related to variant virus infections and their support for prevention measures. Among 170 households interviewed, most (90%, 151/167) perceived their risk of acquiring influenza from swine to be low or very low. Animal exhibitor households reported high levels of behaviours that put them at increased risk of variant influenza virus infections, including eating or drinking in swine barns (43%, 66/154) and hugging, kissing or snuggling with swine at agricultural fairs (31%, 48/157). Among several recommendations, including limiting the duration of swine exhibits and restricting eating and drinking in the animal barns, the only recommendation supported by a majority of households was the presence of prominent hand-washing stations with a person to monitor hand-washing behaviour (76%, 129/170). This is a unique study of KAP among animal exhibitors and highlights that animal exhibitor households engage in behaviours that could increase their risk of variant virus infections and have low support for currently recommended measures to minimize infection transmission. Further efforts are needed to understand the lack of support for recommended measures and to encourage healthy behaviours at fairs.

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