The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has identified at least 13 people who have developed E. coli O157:H7 infections as part of an outbreak associated with Zerebko Zoo Tran traveling petting zoo. All of these cases have infections with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria that have the same DNA fingerprint. Two of these are secondary cases resulting from being exposed to one of the primary cases associated with the petting zoo.
The 13 cases range in age from 2 to 68 years, 10 (77 percent) are female, and they are residents of multiple counties. Seven (54 percent) cases have been hospitalized, including three children. Two of the cases developed a serious complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which affects kidney function. Currently, one case is hospitalized with HUS.
The petting zoo exhibited at the events listed below between July 4 and July 27, and there have been cases associated with each one:
- Nashwauk 4th of July Festival (7/3-7/5): 1 case
- Polk County Fair (7/9-7/13): 1 case
- Rice County Fair (7/15-7/20): 7 cases (including the 2 secondary cases)
- Olmsted County Fair (7/21-7/27): 3 cases
MDH is currently following up with one case regarding their potential animal exposures prior to their illness. Additional cases associated with attending the Olmsted County Fair could still be identified, as that was the most recent event where Zerebko Zoo Tran exhibited.
Environmental and animal fecal samples collected from Zerebko Zoo Tran yielded the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7. The owner has been cooperating in the investigation and voluntarily withheld his animals from the last two county fairs at which he was scheduled to exhibit in August.