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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Petting Zoos – Still Dangerous – E. coli O157:H7

I was reading the CDC’s MMWR article – “Outbreak of Shiga Toxin–Producing Escherichia coli O157 Infection Associated with a Day Camp Petting Zoo — Pinellas County, Florida, May–June 2007” and it struck me how humans seem nearly incapable of learning for the past. We have been tracking this ongoing problem for years now and built www.fair-safety.com as a resource for the Fair and Petting Zoo Industry. But, they seem to be slow learners.

According to the CDC, during 1991–2005, the CDC received reports of 32 outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 that were associated with animals in public settings. Among these, venues in certain outbreaks were not in compliance with NASPHV guidelines, with reported inadequate handwashing facilities, permitted consumption of food or drink in animal areas, unsupervised handwashing, and no signage. During 2006–2008, five E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks related to animal settings were reported (CDC, unpublished data, 2009). NASPHV guidelines include recommendations on handwashing, venue design, animal care and management, risk communication, and oversight needed for animals in public settings.

The article was reported by: KA Alelis, MPH, PE Borkowski, Pinellas County Health Dept; P Fiorella, PhD, J Nasir, J Middaugh, MD, C Blackmore, DVM, Florida Dept of Health. J Keen, DVM, US Dept of Agriculture and Univ of Nebraska. This report is based, in part, on contributions by C Minor, Florida Dept of Health; T Holt, DVM, W Jeter, DVM, J Crews, DVM, and J Carter, Florida Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Svcs.

References

1. CDC. Compendium of measures to prevent disease associated with animals in public settings, 2007: National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, Inc. (NASPHV). MMWR 2007;56(No. RR-5).
2. Mead PS, Slutsker L, Dietz V, et al. Food-related illness and death in the United States. Emerg Infect Dis 1999;5:607–25.
3. Su C, Brandt LJ. Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection in humans. Ann Intern Med 1995;123:698–714.
4. Keen JE, Elder RO. Isolation of Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli O157 from the surfaces and the oral cavity of finished beef feedlot cattle. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;220:756–63.
5. CDC. Outbreaks of Escherichia coli O157:H7 associated with petting zoos—North Carolina, Florida, and Arizona, 2004 and 2005. MMWR 2005;54:1277–80.
6. Steinmuller N, Demma L, Bender JB, Eidson M, Angulo FJ. Outbreaks of enteric disease associated with animal contact: not just a foodborne problem anymore. Clin Infect Dis 2006;43:1596–602.
7. CDC. Outbreaks of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections among children associated with farm visits—Pennsylvania and Washington, 2000. MMWR 2001;50:293–7.
8. Crump JA, Sulka AC, Langer AJ, et al. An outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections among visitors to a dairy farm. N Engl J Med 2002;347:555–60.

We still have pending litigation against the State of North Carolina steming from a petting zoo E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in 2004 were several children suffered acute kidney failure caused by Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.