Another Pandemic Could Start At Your Local Fair


Photo: JOHANNES EISELE / AFP / Getty Images

Sparked by the recent COVID-19 pandemic, concerns about how illnesses spread and if major gatherings by the public, like county fairs, might serve as breeding grounds for infectious diseases.

A New York Times article explores the possible dangers related to county fairs and similar gatherings. The close contact between pigs and people at these fairs could result in the spread of zoonotic diseases, such as swine flu.

Several of these illnesses are animal-borne and may infect people if they come into touch with sick animals or their body fluids. Because so many people interact closely with farm animals like pigs, cows, and goats during county fairs, this danger can be especially high.

The large amount of people that attend county fairs is another risk factor since they can help infectious diseases spread. It is simple for germs to travel from person to person when there are so many people nearby, especially if they are not using appropriate hygiene. Many young children who attend the county fair are also more at risk for infectious illnesses, increasing the danger.

However, there are procedures that can reduce the risk of getting sick during county fairs despite these dangers. For instance, fair organizers can put in place safety measures like hand-washing facilities, rules for social distancing, and limitations on animal interaction.

Visitors at the county fairs should also take precautions for their own safety by washing their hands often, avoiding ill animals, and remaining at home if they are feeling sick.

County fairs certainly have a chance of spreading disease, but they can also be fun and educational opportunities for people taking part in the fair’s activities.

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