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No Petting Zoo? No Fair!

16.sep.05

Sources

  • News & Record

16-Sep-2005

News & Record

GREENSBOROÑThe petting zoo at the Central Carolina Fair is, according to this story, no moreÑat least for now. Several outbreaks of E. coli associated with petting zoos last year have all but ended the practice.UNCG freshman Brandy Lewellyn, of Summerfield was quoted as saying, "That's just not right. I grew up with a petting zoo."It's a change, doctors and health officials say, that will potentially save lives.Last fall, 108 people contracted E. coli at North Carolina's State Fair. Fifteen of those cases, mostly young children, were life-threatening.Many of those children, officials said, are still battling the disease and may need kidney transplants in the future.The story notes there have been cases associated with petting zoos across the country. Earlier this year, five children suffered kidney failure after visiting the petting zoo at a Florida fair. In 2000, 21 children fell ill after visiting a petting zoo in Pennsylvania.David Marshall, the state veterinarian for the Department of Agriculture, was cited as saying the disease has become more prevalent in recent years for several reasons, including improved diagnostic capabilities for identifying viruses (bacteria? -- dp) has allowed doctors to pinpoint E. coli as the problem, adding, "There's probably a lot more cases actually confirmed now, where in the past people kind of thought it was something they ate and it was never confirmed."And over time, he says, the bacteria evolves. During the past generation, it may have changed into the more harmful illness we are seeing today.Finally, physically, the modern population, surrounded by cars, cement and pesticides, just can't handle the disease.