April 18, 2024

Lawyer Warns of E. coli Danger at Petting Zoos

Attorney Fred Pritzker is parents warning about the dangers of E. coli infections from petting zoos. As the weather warms and summer starts, petting zoos are popular attractions for families with young children. Unfortunately, those venues can be and have been the source of serious and even deadly E. coli outbreaks. The issue is that ruminant animals often held at petting zoos, such as goats, sheep, and cows, can carry Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) bacteria in their guts. The animals don't get sick from this pathogenic bacteria because they lack the gene that permits the bacteria to grow and produce toxins that destroy red blood cells. It doesn't matter how old the animal is; young animals can carry this pathogen. The bacteria are shed in the animal's feces. From there, … [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...]

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...]

Petting Zoo E. coli Outbreaks in 2013

Petting zoos and other live animal exhibits can be the source of E.coli poisoning which can cause serious, sometimes life-ending illness for children. In 2013, at least two E.coli outbreaks were associated with petting zoos. Six children contracted E.coli infections, three of them developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of E.coli infections in children that leads to kidney failure. A September E. coli outbreak sickened three children in Kentucky and Indiana who had visited Huber’s Orchard, Winery and Vineyards in Starlight, IN prior to becoming ill. All three children were hospitalized and DNA "fingerprinting" tests showed they were all sickened by the same strain of E.coli. Tests on environmental samples from Huber's did not yield positives of the outbreak … [Read more...]

E. coli Risk Prompts Stearns County Fair to Omit Petting Zoo

The risk of E.coli poisoning has prompted organizers of the Stearns County Fair in Minnesota to omit the petting zoo this year. Portable handwashing stations will be installed in all the barns to further reduce the risk of illness. “The overriding factor for not doing it this year was the health concerns,” John Roberts, the fair's Future Farmers of America told the St. Cloud Times.  “The one thing we found over the years, no matter how many signs and stuff you put up there’s always going to be somebody that’s going to pet the animals and then they don’t wash their hands afterward.” Petting zoos have been the source of three E. coli outbreaks at Minnesota county fairs since 1998 and at dozens of other fairs around the country. Last year, an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 at the Cleveland … [Read more...]

Petting Zoos: What You Should Know Before You Go

Petting Zoos and other exhibits where contact with animals is permitted can be the source of E.coli poisoning which can cause serious, sometimes life-ending illness for children. Before taking the family out to the fair or the petting zoo, parents should be aware of the risks that these exhibits pose. Recently there have been a number of E.coli outbreaks linked to petting zoos including the one last summer linked to the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina that sickend 106 people. Sixty-four of them were children, one of whom died. This outbreak came just a year after one linked to the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh that sickened 25 people, four of whom developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which can cause kidney failure, seizure, stroke and coma. And one in 2004, again … [Read more...]

Pritzker Lawyers Represent Cleveland Fair E. Coli Petting Zoo Patients

The firm of Pritzker Hageman is representing victims of the Cleveland Fair E. coli petting zoo outbreak that happened last summer.  Most outbreaks involving this organism are caused by adulterated food. However, petting zoo animals have also been a frequent source of E. coli O157 infections, usually resulting in the hospitalization (and, too often, the death) of many children. Many states, including North Carolina, have statutes and regulations intended to lessen the risk of such human-animal interactions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, and the American Veterinary Medical Association have also weighed in on the subject by publishing a “Compendium of Measures to Prevent Disease Associated with Animals in Public … [Read more...]

After E. coli Outbreak, Pumpkin Patch Closes Petting Zoo

A Washington petting zoo where four children contracted E. coli infections has been closed.  The owners of the Willow Grove Gardens Pumpkin Patch voluntarily closed the petting zoo Monday evening after four children, all under the age of ten, got E. coli poisoning after visiting the farm. At least one of them was so ill that hospitalization was required, according to local health authorities. Petting zoos are frequent sources of E. coli outbreaks. Earlier this month, an E. coli outbreak associated with a petting zoo at the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina killed one child and sickened more than 100 others. Petting animals can transfer dangerous bacteria to hands which can cause infection if the face, eyes, nose or mouth  are touched without first washing hands. It can also be … [Read more...]

As Cleveland County Shows, E.coli Outbreaks At Fairs Hit Children Hardest

The E. coli outbreak linked to the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina is the latest example of how children are hit hardest when foodborne illness strikes fairgoers. Of the 106 people included in this outbreak, 64 are children, 12 of whom have been hospitalized and one of whom has died, according to the latest update from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Animal exposure has been identified as a a possible source of the outbreak, which has been the case in a number of instances where foodborne illness outbreaks have been linked to fairs and petting zoos. “These events are a well recognized source of E. coli  poisoning and have been implicated in several outbreaks in recent years,” said Fred Pritzker, food safety attorney and publisher of Food Poisoning Bulletin. … [Read more...]

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