September 24, 2016

After Deadly E.coli Outbreak, No Petting Zoo at Cleveland County Fair

The Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina won't have a petting zoo this year. Organizers of the fair, which opens next week, decided against it after an E.coli outbreak linked to last year's petting zoo sickened 106 people. Most of those who became ill were children, one of whom died. Heavy rains caused runoff  that was a likely factor in widespread contamination of the area surrounding the petting zoo exhibit, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. This year, fairgoers will not be able to touch the animals, which will be displayed in gated areas, and must walk through hand washing stations before entering and leaving each exhibit. E.coli outbreaks have been linked to a number of fairs with live animal exhibits. A 2011 outbreak at the North … [Read more...]

Cleveland County Petting Zoo Recommendations: Enter at Your Own Risk

The Cleveland County Fair Working Group held a press conference this week to give their recommendations on how to make the event safer. Last year's outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 at the Fair sickened more than 100 people; seven people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome.  A toddler died as a result of the infection. In early May, a task force recommended that there be no petting zoo at the fair at all. The goal of the Group was to review prevention measures that were in place during that outbreak and to identify measures to help mitigate the risk of disease transmission. The Group did not recommend that petting zoos or animal contact exhibits be banned at the fair. They stated that animal contact exhibits at sanctioned agricultural fairs must adhere to the requirements set forth in … [Read more...]

Petting Zoo Was Source of NC E. coli Outbreak, Officials Determine

Heavy rains during the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina may have contributed to the spread of E. coli bacteria in the petting zoo which health officials now confirm is the source of an E.coli outbreak that sickened 106 people and killed a small child.  Runoff was a likely factor in widespread contamination of the area surrounding the petting zoo exhibit," according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. “Our sincerest sympathies go to those families that have experienced illness and loss in this outbreak,” State Health Director Laura Gerald said in a statement. “Our goal in this and any other public health investigation is not to assign blame, but to identify how to prevent this kind of event from happening again.” After an E. coli outbreak at the North … [Read more...]

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