The risk of contracting swine flu at a fair has decreased nationwide, but Minnesota State Fair officials are keeping a close eye on pigs and the people who show them, MPR reports.
Last year, 309 people were sickened when the H3N2v strain of the virus filtered through state fairs in a dozen states, including Minnesota, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. But this year, it has been just 16 people who went to fairs in Indiana, Illinois and Ohio, the CDC says. Fourteen of those cases were in Indiana.
The strain has not been detected in people in Minnesota this year. Here's more info on the strain from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention.
It's very rare, but swine flu can be passed from animals to humans, and there's not yet a vaccine for the strain. So health officials are closely watching the pigs for any signs of illness. But they also stress that the risk is small, and that the fair and its animals are an important part of Minnesota's culture.
Gone this year are signs posted at the fair last year that advised certain people to stay out of the animal barns, including children under age 5, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems, MPR reports.
Here's more information about swine flu and its symptoms from the Mayo Clinic.