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Biosecurity Resources and Recommendations

The following information is provided for the 2021 Fair Season.

Fairs and Exhibitions

The barn doors have fully re-opened again for many Washington Fairs and Exhibitions. The same preventative measures we used to control COVID-19 in humans such as social distancing, hand washing, frequent cleaning/ disinfection and current vaccination also apply to animals to protect animal health at the fair. We can all start by following biosecurity principles and keeping ourselves and our animals one cow apart! J COVID-19 taught us a lot about disease transmission and prevention in humans. At this time there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading SARS-CoV-2 to humans, but there are many other diseases of concern at the fair. Early detection and removal of a sick animal is very important to protect animal welfare and public health. One way to detect disease early is to use a rectal thermometer to take and chart temperatures and chart those numbers to looks for trends. Often increases in rectal temperatures will proceed any signs of illness. Notify your fair veterinarian or superintendent immediately.

Before the Fair

Disease prevention starts before exhibitors leave home. Only healthy animals should be entered in the fair. You should also:

  • Make sure veterinary health inspections and vaccinations are current for all animals you take.
  • Follow veterinary guidelines on vaccination and withdrawal times.
  • Clean and disinfect tools, equipment, and trailers, since these items could carry disease.
  • Take and record rectal temperatures for one week prior to the fair to identify “normal”.
  • Limit contact between animals.
  • Limit contact between people and animals.
  • Avoid sharing equipment with other exhibitors.
  • Change your fair clothing, including shoes, before going home.
  • Take and record rectal temperatures daily and monitor for changes in trends or behavior. Notify your veterinarian or superintendent with concerns.

During the Fair

The fair environment can be stressful for animals, making them more likely to become sick. To limit this risk, follow these guidelines:

  • Limit contact between animals.
  • Limit contact between people and animals.
  • Avoid sharing equipment with other exhibitors.
  • Change your fair clothing, including shoes, before going home.
  • Take and record rectal temperatures daily and monitor for changes in trends or behavior. Notify your veterinarian or superintendent with concerns.

After the Fair

After the Fair If your animal returns from the fair, here are steps to protect your farm from disease.

• Keep animals returning from the fair isolated for at least 30 days.

• When doing chores, always care for your fair animals last.
• Watch all your animals daily for signs of illness including a lack of appetite, fever, or changes in behavior. Contact your veterinarian immediately.

CDC/ Public Health Fair Resources

Interacting with animals at fairs is educational and fun and helps people learn about and experience animals they may not see in their daily lives. However, it is important to know that animals sometimes carry germs or zoonotic diseases that can make people sick or vice versa. Here are some great resources to protect public health.

Tips to Stay Healthy at Animal Exhibits

Compendium of Measures to Prevent Disease Associated with Animals in Public Settings

NASPHV Animal Compendium Toolkit

Department of Health Fair Safety

Zoonotic Disease Prevention Toolkit for Fairs
This toolkit was developed by the Washington State Department of Health. It introduces a consumer protection plan approach to the control of disease hazards associated with animals in the fair environment. It is intended as a supplement to compliance with the Washington state rule, WAC 246-100-192 Animals in Public Settings.
Download toolkit here...

Fair Safety/Health Information

Fair "Wash Your Hands" Posters

As you organize your local or state fair, you need to be aware of ways to help protect visitors.

One way is to educate visitors on how to stay healthy while visiting animal exhibits and the importance of washing their hands afterwards. Handwashing is easy to do and it's one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs.

Please download and post the entire poster series below at your fair.
And, please take a few minutes to complete our survey.
See DOH Animal Venue Operator Requirements webpage for more information.
You can email us any questions you may have at zd@doh.wa.gov.
Thanks for protecting the public’s health!
Washington State Department of Health, Zoonotic Disease Program
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