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article imageVisitors to Minnesota State Fair warned to wash hands regularly

By James Walker     Aug 26, 2014 in Lifestyle
Visitors to this year's Minnesota State Fair are being warned by organisers to wash their hands regularly to prevent outbreaks of disease, contracted from the abundance of farm animals at the event.
PostBulletin.com recalls an incident earlier this month where seven people were hospitalized from an E-coli outbreak, later traced to animals forming part of a travelling zoo that appeared at several fairs and festivals within Minnesota recently, including the Olmsted County Fair. Two other patients experienced serious kidney issues.
Organisers of this year's show, running from August 21st to September 1st, insist that the exhibits found at summer country shows worldwide are one of the safest ways for people to interact with farm animals, but warn that a few simple prevention methods can lower the risk further.
Although it is difficult to contract a disease from an animal just by being near to it, once you have touched and petted it the risk is higher. After leaving each barn, you are advised to thoroughly wash your hands, following the steps outlined by the CDC: Wet both sides of your hands, apply a good soap and rub thoroughly to build a rich lather and dry the hands thoroughly, using paper towels if nothing else is available but preferably high-performance hand dryers that lower the risk of infection to other people by their contactless nature.
Visitors should also be careful when carrying food into a barn as this is a primary infection route. Bottles should ideally be put away as sawdust with animal germs on can easily be disturbed and be filtered into the container.
This year, the fair organisers have taken considerable effort to warn of and lower the risk of infection. Over two dozen hand washing stands have been installed in the barns and information signs are being displayed to inform visitors of what they should do to stay safe. The swine barn has also had a huge ventilation system upgrade: huge 15ft diameter fans have been installed so that air is recycled quicker than ever, preventing germs from hanging around.
The Minnesota State Fair looks to be another great event then, with hundreds of attractions for visitors to view and experience. Whereas the risk to health is relatively low, with just a few simple preventive measures like regularly washing your hands, that risk can be almost eliminated to make the day a worriless family affair.
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