Although the Ag-Venture animals had been certified as healthy by a veterinarian within 30 days of visiting three Central Florida fairs, as required by law, the specific E. coli 0157:H7 strain that have sickened at least 26 visitors to petting zoos in Orlando, Plant City and Tampa was found in six animals from the petting zoo, said state Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson.
Many of the people sickened with E. coli infection have gone on to develop hemolytic uremia syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening kidney ailment. Eight of the 26 confirmed victims remain hospitalized, most of them children.
All 37 of the company’s animals have been quarantined and are permanently barred from further contact with the public, the Tampa Tribune reports.