This year’s E. coli outbreak is larger than the one from the Clackamas County Fair in 2006, when the bacteria infected four people, sending one to the hospital, said William Keene, an epidemiologist for the Oregon Public Health Division.
According to the Portland Oregonian, seven people who attended the Clackamas County Fair contracted E. coli bacteria, according to the Oregon Public Health Division. Health investigators said today the outbreak spread to one additional person but is now contained. E. coli infections can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps and kidney failure. Those who became sick in August have recovered or are recovering.
County fairs have a history of E. coli problems, typically from people who come into contact with fecal matter, perhaps by petting a cow or sheep, and fail to wash their hands before eating food, according to Clackamas County Health Officer Gary Oxman. During the 2002 Lane County Fair, about 65 people got infected, and the bacteria spread from those people to about 20 more.
Fairs and Petting Zoos have not only been an ongoing risk for E. coli specifically, but also for other bacterial and viral illnesses. We created a website, www.fair-safety.com, to make sure Fairs and the public are aware of the risk. We have been involved in several lawsuits involving petting zoos and fairs, including Lane County, Oregon, and the State Fairs of North Carolina and Florida. Also, see the news that has been generated on the topic of the last few years – News.
Here are some presentations that I have given on the topic in 2004, 2005 and 2006: