Minn. State Fair catches H1N1, officials blame touchy-feely 4-H teens


So the Minnesota State Fair has been officially infected with the swine flu H1N1 like the rest of the world. All germaphobes beware of the overpopulated, sweaty, and germ-infested event likely to leave you regretting your adventure out to the Great Minnesota Get-Together. It's not the State Fair if you don't catch something nasty there. Puking, the runs, and deadly flu outbreaks should be standard expectations.

But that's not even the best part. You know why the greatest event of the year now has to madly try and save face so people still show up for the big Labor Day weekend? Those horny 4-H kids had a little too much fun at the fair and probably spread that H1N1 like candy. We know the legends of madness inside the 4-H Hilton when you throw a bunch of frisky teens into a giant sleepover. If someone made it out of there without catching it, it's time to start wondering why they came to the fair at all.

More from the Star Tribune:

The four cases were detected "during the past 40 hours," prompting program officials to call parents this morning, telling them to pick up their kids, said 4-H superintendent Brad Rugg.

Among the 120 participants in 4-H's Arts-In and Ambassador programs, 17 developed flu-like symptoms and were previously sent home. The four confirmed cases emerged from that group, according to 4-H officials. An unidentified staff member also has flu-like symptoms -- but not a confirmed case, the group reported.

With 400 more 4-H members scheduled to arrive at the fair today, nurses will screen them for symptoms and ask that they return home if they're displaying any.

The state fair quickly came out with a prepared statement, assuring past and future visitors they are probably (well, most likely, sort of) safe from the flu. In a prepared statement published in the Strib, assistant state health commissioner John Stine said: "It is important to point out that it is perfectly safe for people to come to the State Fair. We do want to remind people that if you are sick you should stay home. It is also a good idea to wash your hands frequently and cover any coughs or sneezes."

The 4-H kids live in a dormitory during their time at the fair, which is appropriately called the 4-H Hilton. You can only imagine what happens: Dreams come true for so many farm boys. But let's be honest. The dorms are too risky, so the fun probably happens in pig barns, Ye Old Mill, and behind the cheese curd stand. The kids might have swine flu, but they also have one hell of a story to tell at the bars someday.

Proud to be an American!