CIDRAP News also reports on the recent outbreak of E coli O157:H7 infections traced to the petting zoo at the North Carolina State Fair:
The NCHHS concluded that most patients fell ill as a result of visiting the petting zoo, though some probably picked up the infection elsewhere at the fair.
“In light of the investigation, we recommend restricting direct contact with animals, reducing fecal contamination, and reducing crowding in petting zoos in addition to existing recommendations to prevent future E. coli O157:H7 infections,” the NCHHS said, citing recommendations from the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV). “These recommendations are particularly pertinent for young children and others with reduced immunity to infection.”
The North Carolina outbreak is one of several E coli O157:H7 outbreaks linked to petting zoos or farms in recent years. A petting zoo in Ontario was found to be the source of 159 cases in 1999, and 51 cases were traced to a Pennsylvania dairy farm in the fall of 2000, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).