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The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has announced the source of an Ecoli outbreak that has left 11 sick – 6 of which have been hospitalized and one who has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. Those who are ill have reported to have attended the fair between Aug. 25 and Sept. 2. Illnesses began between Aug. 29 and Sept. 6. One person remains hospitalized. Here’s everything we know about the Minnesota State Fair Ecoli Outbreak:
According to the health agency’s announcement:
“MDH is working in partnership with fair officials to determine the source of the outbreak. Evidence gathered to date suggests that contact with livestock is the most likely factor. Most of the ill people reported visiting the Miracle of Birth exhibit and having contact with calves, goats, sheep or piglets. However, some cases did not have direct contact with animals and may have been exposed through contact with contaminated surfaces (e.g., fence rails). This serves as a strong reminder to always wash your hands after being around livestock and their enclosures.”
The agency’s laboratory tests of the bacteria indicate the E. coli O157 strains are closely related. Additional testing will be conducted to try to pinpoint the source or animal at the source of the infections.
In a statement by MDH State Public Health Veterinarian Joni Scheftel, there was a concern for possible secondary infections.
“These infections can have serious health impacts and there is always a chance that an ill person can pass along the infection to others through close contact,” Scheftel said. “Anyone who believes they may have developed an E. coli O157 infection should contact their health care provider. E. coli O157 infections should not be treated with antibiotics, as this might lead to serious complications.”
Several children have contracted Ecoli from petting zoos, state fairs, animal attractions, or other places where they come into contact with animals through the years, and a few have died. This has led to laws and precautions put in place regarding animal exhibits. One such law, in North Carolina, is called Aedin’s Law after a young girl who got sick with E. coli in 2004 in an outbreak that affected over 100 others, requires petting zoo operators to have a special license to run the zoo, and also to post signs on the dangers of interacting with animals. Another provision of the law requires the a hand-washing station must be located within ten feet of the petting zoo. Despite this law, and similar laws in other states, a few people contract E coli from animal exhibits each year.
So, how do these germs get inside our body and cause the illness?
Most of the pathogens that cause infections like Salmonella, Ecoli and Campylobacter are present in the intestines of these animals. They shed it in their feces, which can then contaminate their surroundings and body of the animals. These bacteria spread to the hands of the people who touch these animals or their surroundings. And from the hands to their mouth – This is mainly how diarrheal illness spreads from animals to humans.
At the petting zoo, fecal contamination is present at various surfaces from gates, walls to pens and food containers of the animals. Keep in mind, that the contamination isn’t always visible to the naked eye or the animals who carry the pathogen in their intestine won’t always show any symptoms. Therefore, it is important to practice proper precautionary measures at all times.
Animals at least risk of transmission include:
Animals at most risk of transmission include:
How to prevent yourself and your kids from getting infected?
The Lange Law Firm
Our mission is to help families who have been harmed by petting zoos, state fairs, and farms. When corporations cause food poisoning or Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks or when petting zoos cause outbreaks, we use the law to hold them accountable. The Lange Law Firm is the only law firm in the nation solely focused on representing families in food poisoning lawsuits and Legionnaires disease lawsuits.
If you or your child was infected with Ecoli in this Ecoli outbreak after attending the Minnesota State Fair and are interested in making a legal claim for compensation, we have an Ecoli lawyer ready to help you. Call us for a free no obligation legal consultation at (833) 330-3663 or send us an e-mail here.
By: Candess Zona-Mendola, Editor (Non-Lawyer)