Dianne Shipley, spokeswoman for the Sarasota County Health Department, said there is now one suspected case of E. coli bacteria infection reported in Sarasota County by an adult who recently attended a fair or festival in Florida. The Sarasota resident meets both screening criteria for HUS infection: mild to severe and bloody diarrhea, and attendance at a recent Florida fair.
The Florida Department of Health is working with state and local partners to continue investigating reported cases of E. coli O157:H7 and hemolytic uremic syndrome in central Florida. Shipley urged anyone who has attended a fair or event with animal exhibitions and has diarrhea, either mild or severe, to contact a doctor.
Health officials have traced the outbreak to petting zoos at recent festivals. Other pathways of exposure are under investigation, including transmission of foodborne illness from not cooking foods properly or not washing fruits and vegetables.
“Our message is one of precaution,” Shipley said. “You get infected from contact with fecal matter. Parents should make sure their children wash their hands after touching or petting animals.”