Maine CDC Press Release

July 31, 2012

Use Good Judgment for Good Health When Attending Maine Agricultural Fairs

AUGUSTA – The Agricultural Fair season in under way in Maine and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maine Department of Agriculture would like to remind everyone to exercise good judgment while enjoying all that Maine’s fairs have to offer. Fairs are held from Acton to Presque Isle and in many places in between. They offer visitors a unique opportunity to enjoy agricultural events, exhibits, food, amusement rides and other attractions. Stephen Sears, State Epidemiologist, says it’s important to follow some simple rules to assure good health during the fair season.

  • Do not attend a fair if you are ill. You are risking not only the people around you, but also the animals. Many animals are susceptible to human illnesses including influenza.
  • Always ask the owner for permission before you touch an animal. Before and after touching animals, wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol hand gel. This will help reduce the risk of spreading illness from you to the animal and from the animal to you.
  • Before eating, wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol hand gel. This will help reduce the risk of gastrointestinal illness, such as Salmonella.

"Agricultural Fairs are educational and just plain fun," said Beth McEvoy, acting State Veterinarian, "and it is important that we do everything we can to make it as safe of an experience as possible, both for the people and the animals." Maine's fair season runs through early October, with 26 licensed agricultural fairs state wide.

More information on Maine fairs can be found at www.mainefairs.org, and more information about infectious diseases can be found at www.mainepublichealth.gov.