Last year, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report encouraging venues where the public has contact with animals, such as fairs and petting zoos, to adopt standards, saying that "inadequate understanding of disease transmission and animal behavior can lead to infectious diseases, rabies exposures, injuries and other health problems among visitors, especially children, in these settings."

The single most important step to reduce risk is to have visitors wash their hands, says the Ventura County Star.

Hand washing is nothing new at the Ventura County Fair, which has washing stations at the entrances and exits to the animal areas. This year, however, McGuire said she’s increasing the number of signs encouraging people to wash their hands.

She’s also hoping to encourage people not to bring food into the animal areas, although that is not yet a requirement.

"We’re not that strict yet," she said. "There are some fairs that don’t allow food at all into the animal areas."

The CDC recommends that food and beverages not be allowed in animal areas.

"In addition," the CDC report states, "smoking, carrying toys, and use of pacifiers, spill-proof cups and baby bottles should not be permitted in animal areas."