More than a half dozen people remain hospitalized, suffering from HUS, a life-threatening kidney ailment that the Florida Department of Agriculture and Health has traced more than two dozen cases of a disease caused by E. coli back to a Plant City-based petting zoo. 26 people contracted the disease from AgVenture’s petting zoos in central Florida and there are 42 other suspected infections from the livestock.
“It wasn’t the fault of the petting zoo,” said Dr. Doug Holt, director of the Hillsborough County Department of Health. “It wasn’t the fault of the fair, and it wasn’t the fault of the parents. It was just a unique combination of circumstances that led to this exposure and these illnesses.”
“E. coli itself is very common in our own intestinal tract,” he said, “and it is one of the most common, if not the most common, cause of urinary tract infections.”But one rare strain of E. coli can cause a serious disease in humans known as Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome. “It’s basically a blood disorder that affects the kidneys, and you get renal failure,” Holt said.