Columbia, SC (WLTX) - H1N1, more commonly called the Swine Flu, first made headlines back in 2007. However, there is a new version of the virus that's prompting both health and South Carolina State Fair officials to pay attention.
"We've been preparing all year," said Gary Goodman, State Fair manager, "since the fair closed last year. We're in full force fair mode right now."
The State Fair grounds may be quiet in September, but come next month the grounds will see hundreds of thousands of visitors. All those people mean a lot of preparations and this year that includes particular attention to the pigs.
The new version of the Swine Flu, known as H3N2, has popped up at state fairs across the country prompting health officials to warn fair goers about swine.
"We feel like you have to be cautious," said Goodman. "We have not had any outbreaks in the southeastern part of the country and we check regularly with the state veterinarian's department."
Although no cases have been reported in South Carolina, both health and fair officials are asking the public to take precautions.
"If you do not feel well do not go into the animal barn," Goodman advises. "Do not take any type of food or drink into the animal barn. And then when you come out make sure you wash your hands and take precautions in that way."
There have been plenty of hand washing and sanitizing stations set up around the barns and food tents.
"We ask people to use good common sense and we do everything we can to make sure it's a good healthy visit to the state fair."
Symptoms of H3N2 are similar to those of a normal flu strain. For further information about the virus, click here