Friday, November 20, 2009

H1N1 2009, Pigs, Turkeys, and Small Town America

I see in the news that H1N1 2009, or swine flu, is on the decline, at least in America. I can't say that I'm disappointed. I got over that cold I had last month, and am quite willing to go through the winter with no flu: swine or otherwise.

The schools here in Loonfoot Falls are inoculating students, starting next week. One of my nephews is getting the shot: and not looking forward to it. Not many people like being stuck with needles. In this case, though, it's probably worth it. One of the boy's friends came down with H1N1 recently, recovered: and assured my nephew that it's a miserable bug to have.

"Pig farmer" probably isn't high on anybody's list of glamour careers: but hog farming is big business in this part of Minnesota. And, an important part of Loonfoot Fall's economy. Which may be part of the reason why this paper hasn't been using the term, "swine flu," all that much. Besides, around here, the pigs are more likely to catch it from people, than the other way around.

Or would be, if the hog farmers weren't so careful with their herds.

Then there are the precautions turkey operations take.

Many of America's forty six million Thanksgiving turkeys start out around here. Approaches to the turkey barns generally have signs warning people off: Nobody that doesn't have business there, and is disease-free, is allowed near the gobblers. Regulations aside, there's a big investment tied up in each bird.

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