Marler Clark filed a lawsuit today against the Lane County Fair Board on behalf of 29 individuals and families of individuals who were infected with E. coli O157:H7 during an outbreak at the Lane County Fair last summer.
A number of fairs and petting zoos have been implicated in E. coli outbreaks in recent years. The Lane County Fair Board should have been aware of risks to patrons, and taken the necessary precautions to prevent this outbreak. These kids were severely injured, and many may suffer from complications of their E. coli infections later in life. Someone needs to be held responsible for what they went through.
I recommended taking the following steps to prevent outbreaks at future fairs:
Admit only animals that have passed E. coli O157:H7 screening.
Limit airborne E. coli by not moving soiled bedding during exhibit hours, keeping stall areas damp with an approved disinfectant, and preventing visitors from entering stall areas.
Increase signing that makes clear the need to wash hands when entering and leaving exhibits and to not eat in the exhibit areas.
Increase education of the public on the risk of animal contact.
Increase ventilation of buildings to improve air flow per approved standards.
Sanitize walkways and railings.
Ban food from exhibit halls and areas surrounding exhibit halls.
Increase the number of hand washing stations and encourage the public to use them.
And, add warnings at fair entrances.