Fair and Petting Zoo Safety

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

2005 Florida State Fair, Central Florida Fair, and Florida Strawberry Festival E. coli Outbreak

The AgVenture Farms E. coli O157:H7 outbreak was first recognized after two separate HUS case reports were reported to the Florida Department of Health in mid-March.  The two cases (a 5-yr-old girl and a 7-yr-old boy) both reported having visited a fair with a petting zoo (AgVenture) a few days prior to becoming ill. The two children visited the same fair and did not have any other common risk factors.

A total of 22 confirmed, 45 suspect and 6 secondary cases from 20 Florida counties were identified as part of this outbreak. All but one culture-confirmed case had isolates with matching PFGE (DNA fingerprint) patterns. Most cases were infected at either the Central Florida Fair or the Florida Strawberry Festival. Three cases were associated with the Florida State Fair, where AgVenture’s petting zoo was present in February. Twelve cases developed HUS. There were no fatalities.

E. coli O157:H7 with PFGE patterns matching those isolated from victims were recovered from the animal exhibit areas of the Central Florida Fair and the Florida Strawberry Festival. E. coli O157:H7 with matching PFGE patterns were also recovered from 6 animals from the Agventure petting zoo.

A summary of the outbreak report can be found on the Florida Department of Health Website or the MMWR,  “Outbreaks of Escherichia coli O157:H7 Associated with Petting Zoos—North Carolina, Florida, and Arizona, 2004 and 2005.”