September 24, 2021

It’s Petting Zoo Time! Do You Know How to Protect Your Kids?

With county and state fairs occurring around the country, especially after many closed last year because of COVID-19, parents need to know about petting zoos and the danger they can present. Since it's petting zoo time, do you know how to protect your kids? Children love small animals, and petting zoos are magnets to many of them. Many state fairs and county fairs offer these attractions. Unfortunately, these animals can harbor pathogenic bacteria that can make kids very sick. The most dangerous is E. coli bacteria, which occur naturally in the guts of ruminant animals such as cows, goats, and sheep. The animals themselves do not get sick, but they shed the bacteria in their feces, where it can contaminate the animals themselves and their environment. The CDC states that from … [Read more...]

No Answers To Deadly San Diego E. coli Outbreak at County Fair

The San Diego Health & Human Services Agency has released a report stating that they were not able to find answers to the deadly San Diego E. coli outbreak that sickened people who visited the county fair in June 2019. The outbreak was first reported on June 28, 2019, with four pediatric cases of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections. As of July 31, 2019, there are 11 confirmed cases and 2 probable cases in this outbreak. Three people were hospitalized because they were so sick, and one child has died. The outbreak was caused by a specific strain of E. coli O157:H7. After the outbreak, visits to the animal exhibits at the fair were restricted. The San Diego County Department of Environmental Health inspectors conducted investigations at the food booths that were visited by … [Read more...]

Two More Probable E. coli Cases Linked to San Diego County Fair

Two more probable E. coli cases have been linked to the San Diego County Fair, bringing the total of sick children to seven, according to the County of San Diego Health and Human Services. Those seven cases include four confirmed and three probable. A two-year-old boy sadly died on June 24, 2019 after visiting the fair. All of the children had visited animal exhibits at the fair before they got sick. The two new cases are a 2-year-old who was at the fair on June 22, 2019, got sick on June 26, and was not hospitalized, and a 4-year-old who visited the fair on June 21, got sick on June 29, and is currently hospitalized. Dr. Dean Sidelinger, interim deputy county public health officer, said in a statement, "The investigation is ongoing, and even though the fair is over, there are … [Read more...]

E. coli Outbreak: One Little Child Dies, Three Sickened at San Diego County Fair

One 2-year-old boy has died, and three other children from 2 to 13 years of age have been sickened with E. coli infections after they visited the San Diego County Fair, according to the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency.  The infections are apparently linked to contact with animals at that venue. Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened. Shiga toxin E. coli (STEC) outbreaks linked to county fairs and petting zoos have occurred several times in the past few years. An outbreak at the Oxford County Fair in Maine in 2015 sickened two small boys; one of them died. An E. coli outbreak at the Milk Makers Fest in Whatcom County, Washington in 2015 sickened 36 children with E. coli infections. And in 2014, an E. coli outbreak sickened 13 people in … [Read more...]

Salmonella Outbreak at Arapahoe County Fair in Colorado

A Salmonella outbreak among people who attended the Arapahoe County Fair in Colorado has sickened at least seven people, according to the Tri-County Health Department, Arapahoe County, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Those sickened attended the fair, or 4-H events associated with the fair, from July 21 to July 29, 2018. Officials have not identified the source of the pathogenic bacteria. The Tri County Health Department is conducting an investigation to determine the source and the outbreak strain. Dr. John M. Douglas, Dr., Executive Director of the Tri-County Health Department, said in a statement, "If you went to the Arapahoe County Fair or attended a 4-H event associated with the Fair and have these symptoms, we encourage you to see your health … [Read more...]

It’s State and County Fairs Time; Stay Safe at Animal Exhibits

As summer winds down and fall approaches, state and county fairs are underway. The CDC is warning parents and caregivers about ways to protect yourself and your children against E. coli and other illnesses that have been linked to those events. Animals exhibits and petting zoos at county and state fairs have been the source of E. coli outbreaks in the past few years. From 2010 to 2015, about 100 outbreaks of illness were linked to animals in public settings. These outbreaks have been caused by E. coli O157:H7, Cryptosporidium, and Salmonella bacteria. Last year, eight people were sickened with E. coli infections after visiting the Mesa County Fair in Colorado Junction, Colorado. An E. coli outbreak in Minnesota in 2014 was linked to Zerebko Zoo Tran, a traveling petting zoo. At … [Read more...]

E. coli Outbreak After Mesa County Fair in Grand Junction, CO

At least eight people are sick with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections after visiting the Mesa County Fair in Grand Junction, Colorado, according to a news release by Mesa County Public Health. The fair was held from July 25 to July 29, 2017. This type of pathogenic bacteria is common in cattle, sheep, and goats, according to the press release. People can get sick when they come into contact with these animals, their bedding, fence railings, or anything in the surrounding environment. The animals shed E. coli in their feces, and it can get onto their coats or contaminate anything in the area. Public health officials have also been in contact with child care providers and health care providers to try to determine the magnitude of the outbreak and prevent further illnesses. … [Read more...]

E. coli Outbreak at Washington County Fair; Is This Common?

The E. coli outbreak that may be associated with the Washington County Fair in Oregon raises questions about the safety of county and state fairs. At least two people are sick in that outbreak. There have been several serious outbreaks linked to those types of events in the past few years. The current outbreak in Oregon may or may not be related to the fair, but public health officials are looking at livestock exhibits at that event. Ruminant animals, such as cows and goats, can harbor E. coli bacteria in their intestines. Those animals will not get sick because they lack the gene for the disease to develop. But those animals shed the pathogenic bacteria in their feces. The bacteria can then get onto the animal's udders, onto their hooves, and onto their coats. When people drink … [Read more...]

E. coli Outbreak in Washington County, Oregon; May be Fair-Related

Washington County, Oregon Public Health is investigating several cases of diarrheal illness caused by Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) bacteria in that area. One of the sources officials are looking at is livestock at the Washington County Fair. Anyone who attended the Washington County Fair July 28-31, 2016 and has experienced the symptoms of a STEC infection should contact their healthcare provider. Symptoms include severe stomach and abdominal cramps, vomiting, a mild fever, and diarrhea that is watery and/or bloody. The source has not been definitely identified. The investigation is ongoing. Public Health is also investigating food items that are not related to the fair. STEC infections can be life-threatening, especially if they develop into hemolytic uremic syndrome … [Read more...]

CDC Food Safety Tips at Fairs and Festivals

Foodborne illness increases during summer months and outbreaks are often linked to fairs and festivals. To help everyone safely enjoy their time at the fair, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has compiled some food safety tips. One of the biggest things to keep in mind, according to the agency, is that food safety issues are the same no matter where food is being prepared and served. People preparing food prepared outdoors, or in a truck need to use the same safety controls they would in a kitchen- such as storing food at the proper temperatures, avoiding cross-contamination, monitoring temperatures and keeping, hands, utensils and work surfaces clean. Before buying food from a festival vendor, the CDC advises, ask yourself the following questions:  Does the … [Read more...]

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