Ambar Delgado’s father wasn’t afraid to let his five-year-old daughter pet a goat at the Brevard Zoo, since both he and Amber had learned to practice the best form of protection against disease at places like petting zoos – using the hand sanitizer, available at the fence post just outside the petting zoo area.
“She washes her hands when she leaves the petting area and, if she was eating something, before she goes in,” said Axel Delgado to Victor Thompson of Florida Today. “This is her favorite part of the zoo.”
At least nine children and one adult have been infected with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) after being at fairs such as the Central Florida Fair and the Florida Strawberry Festival, and officials are warning that the numbers could grow.
Three of the nine children have tested positive for staphylococcus aureus, a non-animal-related bacterium. The other children and the adult are sick due to a rare complication arising from an initial infection most commonly associated with E. coli, a bacterium found in undercooked beef or contaminated food. Officials said the children might have been exposed to the bacteria through animal feces.
Florida Department of Health spokesman Doc Kokol told Florida Today they’re still gathering facts, and nobody has said that it’s the petting zoo or anything else that’s causing this.