Breaking: Petting-Zoo Animals Are Walking Petri Dishes of Disease

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No, really. They're super-gross.

KOMO reports that four people are sick from E. coli contamination after visiting Everett's Animal Farm at Forest Park. One child was apparently hospitalized for three days.

The Health District is also warning that others may still get sick, and some may have already gotten sick from the same strain of bacteria.

No one knows which animals were contaminated or if the people bothered to wash their hands after touching the heavily-groped animals.

Turns out this kind of thing is pretty common.

The most recent study listed by the Centers for Disease Control analyzed data from 2005 and found a host of infections in the three states that were sampled.

During 2004--2005, three outbreaks of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections occurred among agricultural fair, festival, and petting zoo visitors in North Carolina, Florida, and Arizona. One hundred eight cases, including 15 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome* (HUS), were reported in the North Carolina outbreak; 63 cases, including seven HUS cases, were reported in the Florida outbreak; and two cases were reported in Arizona. No fatalities occurred. Illnesses primarily affected children who visited petting zoos at these events.

Who knew that a bunch of penned-up barn animals that get rubbed all day by snotty children might be vehicles for feces-based bacteria infections?

Everyone. Everyone knew that.

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