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Pet animals, then wash your hands

florida fair zoo ecoli outbreaksBoth the Louisville Zoo, which has a year-round petting zoo, and Huber’s Orchard & Winery in Starlight, Indiana, are determined not to let E. coli spoil their patrons’ fun.
Huber’s petting zoo, which will open for the season on Sunday, has existed for 17 years without incident, spokeswoman Jan Huber told the Courier-Journal:

“We feel confident that it’s a clean and safe petting zoo,” she said. “Our history speaks for itself.” The existing restroom is already “very accessible,” Huber said, but the business plans to add some anti-bacterial foam stations so that people have additional places to clean their hands.

Petting-zoo visitors to the Louisville Zoo receive an introduction that includes instructions on how to behave. There’s no eating, drinking or smoking, and people are told to wash their hands. Roy Burns, staff veterinarian at the Louisville Zoo, said staff at its Boma African petting zoo has been briefed about E. coli so that it can educate visitors.
The zoo plans to start testing animals once or twice a year for E. coli 0157:H7 — the strain associated with a recent outbreak in Florida. It already quarantines new animals for at least 30 days. The entire zoo is also subject to periodic inspection by its accrediting organization, the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, and has steered clear of 0157 outbreaks.