Handwashing is never enough: E. coli outbreak suspected at Oregon fair

Washington County health officials are investigating after cases of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli were reported after some attendants at the Washington County Fair became ill.

Microbiologist Mi Kang works to identify a strain of E. coli from a specimen in a lab at the Washington State Dept. of Health Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, in Shoreline, Wash. Chipotle's industry-leading commitment to tracking its ingredients from farm to table is being put to the test by an E. coli outbreak that has sickened at least 37 people as of Tuesday, nearly all of whom ate recently at one of the chain's restaurants in Washington state or Oregon. Scientists also said that they identified the specific microorganism responsible, which they believe was carried on fresh produce such as lettuce or tomatoes. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

No sources has been identified, but public health officials said that livestock at the Washington County Fair may have been a cause, as well as food items brought to the fair from outside.

According to Washington County, anyone who attended the Washington County Fair and has had, or develops, symptoms of stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting or fever, should call their health care provider.

“The best way to prevent getting STEC infection is by washing hands well with soap and water,” Baumann said. “It’s very important to wash your hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers, before preparing or eating food, and after contact with animals or their environments at farms, petting zoos and fairs.”

A table of petting zoo outbreaks is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Petting-Zoo-Outbreaks-Table-5-5-16.xlsx

Best practices for planning events encouraging human-animal interations

Zoonoses and Public Health 62:90-99

Erdozain , K. KuKanich , B. Chapman and D. Powell, 2015

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/zph.12117/abstract?deniedAccess

 Educational events encouraging human–animal interaction include the risk of zoonotic disease transmission. ‘It is estimated that 14% of all disease in the USA caused by Campylobacter spp., Cryptosporidium spp., Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157, non-O157 STECs, Listeria monocytogenes, nontyphoidal Salmonella enterica and Yersinia enterocolitica were attributable to animal contact. This article reviews best practices for organizing events where human–animal interactions are encouraged, with the objective of lowering the risk of zoonotic disease transmission.