University of North Carolina news reports that this year, the North Carolina State Fair will be enforcing stricter hygiene standards at its petting zoo to avoid last year’s outbreak of E. coli, which affected 108 visitors.
Last year, people were permitted to walk into the animals’ pens, which brought children into contact with animal bedding and waste. This year, visitors will have to pet the animals through a fence.
No strollers, baby bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers or food will be allowed inside the zoo.
R.W. Commerford and Sons, the company that ran the petting zoo last year and will return again this year, said there would be two wash stations at the petting zoo’s exit and a sound system to remind visitors to observe basic precautions.
In addition, signs posted outside and inside the tent will explain basic hygienic precautions in both English and Spanish.
Zoo employees will also be washing the animals daily and bedding will be stripped and thrown away.