Colorado health officials said yesterday that a Denver-area E. coli outbreak in January and February was likely caused by exposure to animals at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. The report Friday from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said the outbreak probably originated in a "Feed the Animals" exhibit in the children’s area. Investigators weren’t able to pinpoint the exact animal that may have caused the outbreak.

Thirty E. coli cases were identified in the outbreak. Of those, nine people were hospitalized. Stock show President and CEO Pat Grant said there will now be signs warning of potential risks at stock and agricultural shows and of the need to wash hands and observe proper hygiene.

This report comes after reported outbreaks in Canada in September that sickened over a dozen.  Also in September nearly 75 children were sickened in England while visiting at least two farms.

Several years ago I started a website – to document the number of outbreaks linked to animal exhibits. There are more than you would think. What is amazing about each of the outbreaks is the similarity of the cause (children being near animals that poop) and the uniformity of inaction by health officials. I clearly need to update my site.