Attending Fairs: Safeguarding Your Health and Nebraska’s Livestock Industry

Simple sanitary practices when visiting areas where livestock is exibited can protect the health of people and animals.

Rosie Nold, Extension Youth Animal Science Specialist, and David R. Smith, Extension Dairy/Beef Veterinarian

What is the concern?

Because fairs, livestock expositions and petting zoos are such an enjoyable activity for many people, it is important to keep these events as open and accessible as possible. However, it is equally important that visitors to these events understand that they play an important role in preventing the spread of diseases.

In 2001, an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom (U.K.) led to the slaughter of more than 6 million animals and caused economic losses of approximately $13.5 billion to the U.K. The outcome of this outbreak is a reminder of the serious consequences of livestock diseases. Foot-and-mouth cannot be transmitted from animals to humans; however, some diseases can affect both humans and animals.

Some animal diseases do not present any direct risks to humans; however human contact can help spread diseases to other livestock. Livestock disease outbreaks could be economically devastating to a state like Nebraska, which derives a large portion of its income from the livestock industry.

It is important to use some simple sanitary practices when visiting places where livestock are housed or are being exhibited to protect your health and the health of the animals. These precautions are quite simple and are no different than what should be done to prevent the spread of colds or flu among people.

Precautions that Visitors Should Take

Following these simple guidelines should help to prevent human illness and lessen the chance of animal to animal spread of disease:

Visit the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Publications Web site for more publications.
Index: Animal Diseases
General Livestock
Issued February 2007

Extension is a Division of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln cooperating with the Counties and the United States Department of Agriculture.

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© 2007, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.