Fair and Petting Zoo Safety

A resource for fair and petty zoo legal cases and outbreak prevention, sponsored by Marler Clark

1999 E. coli Outbreak at an Agricultural Fair in Ontario, Canada

Warshawsky et al (2002) investigated an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 associated with a large agricultural fair which occurred between September 10 and September 19, 1999, in Ontario, Canada. The 7 cases of E. coli O157:H7 were associated with animal contact at the agricultural pavilion of the regional fair. Subtyping revealed that five of the seven cases were an uncommon E. coli O157:H7 strain (PT 27) while the remaining two were a more common strain (E. coli O157:H7 PT 14).  The patient isolate pattern (E. coli O157:H7 PT 27) was indistinguishable from strain patterns of goats and sheep from the traveling petting zoo. The investigators speculated that exposures were the result of high volumes of visitors with limited ability to remove manure and conduct environmental cleaning.  It was recommended that standards should be developed for adequate hand washing facilities, appropriate disposal of manure, and proper cleaning of the environment surrounding the petting zoos, including the rails and floors.