WEST FRIENDSHIP, Md. (WUSA) - It's called swine flu for a reason, a strain of flu commonly passed from pigs to people.

And at the Howard County Fair's kids and critters barn, there is no shortage of pigs or little hands and little bare feet coming in close contact with them.

The US center for disease control has reported a dozen cases of swine flu in recent weeks, all of them linked to contact with pigs at fairs from Hawaii to Indiana.

But that is no reason to close the petting corral, says Howard County Health officer Peter Beilenson, but good reason to take some common sense precautions, such as not touching the pigs (they can also bite little fingers) and washing carefully and completely after any contact with pigs or any other animals.

Thus the handwashing station, right outside the petting corral at the Howard County Fairgrounds, is a busy spot.

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