Petting zoo: Minnesota 10-year-old awarded $7.55 million in E. coli settlement

Maury Glover of Fo 9 reports a jury awarded $7.5 million to a Rosemount, Minnesota family after a young girl contracted E. coli from a petting zoo at Dehn’s Pumpkins in Dayton.

emma-rosemount-girl-e-coli_1479962267763_2325612_ver1-0_640_360In 2013, Emma Heidish spent a month overcoming a potentially deadly form of kidney disease which cause her kidneys to shut down and required surgery and near constant dialysis.

On Tuesday, a Hennepin County jury found the owners of the farm where she got E. coli, Dehn’s Pumpkins in Dayton, negligent for not taking steps to prevent their animals from transmitting diseases and awarded Emma $7.5 million.

Emma was one of seven people sickened in an October 2013 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked by the Minnesota Department of Health to cows in the animal attraction  at Dehn’s Pumpkins, LLC, a business located in Dayton, MN.

The bulk of the money is for future medical bills and pain and suffering.

“It is one of the largest verdicts in the country for an E. coli outbreak for a condition like this one and its one of the largest involving a petting zoo case,” Emma’s attorney, Fred Pritzker, said. “The people who run the pumpkin patch are decent people. It’s not that they were mean spirited. But, what they didn’t know caused a great deal of pain and suffering for my clients.”

Since the outbreak, the popular pumpkin patch no longer operates a petting zoo, but Pritzker sais animal attractions like it are not regulated or inspected.

His firm will push for a new law, named after Emma, requiring petting zoos to follow safety precautions, like having hand washing stations nearby to help prevent the spread of the disease.

“There have been 150 to 200 cases of outbreaks involving animals in public settings in the last 15 years, Pritzker said

Pritzker says Emma probably won’t see all the money because the farm’s insurance doesn’t have that much coverage.

A table of petting zoo outbreaks (which needs to be updatd) is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Petting-Zoo-Outbreaks-Table-4-8-14.xlsx

How to stop people peeing in pools? Australian finds way to keep cow pee out of waterways

I’ve left the mic on before.

Jennifer Nichols of ABC reports that Amanda Neilen discovered that if carbon was added to paddocks, it could reduce nitrogen run-off, fertilise pasture, and prevent the pollution of creeks, rivers and reefs.

cow-peeing-e1435628430577“Cow urine is a problem in waterways because it is readily available for algae,” Ms Neilen said.

“Algae gobble it up and they can form into blooms, which means we can’t swim in our waterways and also it costs more money to treat the water, so we really want to keep the food source for algae out.

“Your average cow can have up to five or six urination events a day, and each time a cow pees it can produce between half a litre to about two litres of liquid.”

Multiplied by 26.1 million cattle in Australia, it is estimated that between 65 to 312 million litres of cow urine enter our environment every day.

The PhD student at Griffith University’s Australian Rivers Institute worked with farmers, environmentalists and other scientists during the two-year research project.

“I think from when I first started and suggested this topic to my supervisor, she found it instantly novel and funny and she said, ‘Yes, you should look at what keeps cow piss out of waterways’,” Ms Neilen said.

“I collected fresh cow urine from Maleny Dairies and I was able to apply this to different treatments, and look at the different pathways that kept urine in the soil and stopped it from leaching out of the soil.

“We did find that we could add carbon to the soil, which was a pretty novel and exciting finding, because the carbon was actually like a great food source for the microbes and made them start increasing their productivity.

“They were able to hold the nitrogen in the soil, which is what we wanted.

“Adding carbon to the soil made quite a big difference. For example, grass uptake reduced nitrogen leaching by 70 per cent.”

Snake barfs cow: probably wasn’t cooked to temperature-verified 165F

Video posted on YouTube this month purportedly shows a snake throwing up an entire cow over the course of a minute-and-a-half. The clip, “Anaconda Snake Pukes Out A Cow In A Jungle River,” has been viewed more than 151,400 times in five days.

 Some YouTube commenters said the creature may actually be a capybara, a large rodent resembling a guinea pig that is native to South America. They’re also common snacks for anacondas.

But the snakes are known to feast on a variety of animals, including fish, large birds and even jaguars. In captivity, they’re fed rabbits and frozen pigs.

One species, the green anaconda of South America, is the largest snake in the world, growing to more than 29 feet and weighing more than 550 pounds, according to National Geographic.

Careful with that cow inmate: E. coli O111 infections associated with a correctional facility dairy — Colorado, 2010

 Excerpts from an article in today’s U.S. Centers for Disease Control Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

On April 20, 2010, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) was notified by correctional authorities regarding three inmates with bloody diarrhea at a minimum-security correctional facility. The facility, which houses approximately 500 inmates, is a designated work center where inmates are employed or receive vocational training. Approximately 70 inmates work at an onsite dairy, which provides milk to all state-run correctional facilities in Colorado. CDPHE immediately began an investigation and was later assisted by the High Plains Intermountain Center for Agricultural Health and Safety at Colorado State University and by CDC. This report describes the results of the investigation, which determined that the illnesses were caused by Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli O111 (STEC O111) infections.

During April–July, 2010, 10 inmates at the facility received a diagnosis of laboratory-confirmed STEC O111 infection, and a retrospective prevalence study of 100 inmates found that, during March–April, 14 other inmates had experienced diarrheal illness suspected of being STEC O111 infection. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) testing indicated that STEC O111 isolates from inmates matched STEC O111 isolates from cattle at the onsite dairy. An environmental investigation determined that inmates employed at the dairy might have acquired STEC O111 infection on the job or transported contaminated clothing or other items into the main correctional facility and kitchen, thereby exposing other inmates. To prevent similar outbreaks in correctional facilities, authorities should consult with public health officials to design and implement effective infection control measures.

CDPHE staff also inspected the correctional facility’s kitchens and living areas and identified the following conditions conducive to STEC O111 transmission: poor adherence to standard food-service protocols and hygiene practices, including food handlers working while ill with diarrhea; inconsistent availability of hand soap throughout the facility; dairy employees wearing soiled work clothes into the kitchen and living areas; and transport of potentially fecally contaminated lunch coolers and water containers from the dairy into the kitchen.

CDPHE hypothesized that the outbreak was associated with environmental contamination and propagated by person-to-person transmission, possibly through food preparation. On learning of these results, the correctional facility immediately implemented the following public health recommendations: 1) prohibiting potentially contaminated material (e.g., lunch coolers, water containers, and work clothing from the dairy) in the kitchen area, 2) excluding from work all food handlers reporting diarrheal illness since April 1, 3) requiring food handlers with a confirmed STEC O111 test result to have two consecutive negative stool specimens before returning to work, and 4) limiting transfers of inmates to other facilities until they were cleared by the medical staff.

The complete report is available at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6109a1.htm?s_cid=mm6109a1_x

Mothers-to-be: step away from the lamb about to pop

The UK Health Protection Agency is issuing a seasonal warning to pregnant women about the potential risk associated with close contact with animals that are giving birth.

Pregnant women who come into close contact with sheep during lambing, for example, may risk their own health, and that of their unborn child, from infections that can occur in some ewes.

Although the number of human pregnancies affected by contact with an infected animal is extremely small, it is important that pregnant women are aware of the potential risks and take appropriate precautions.

It is also important to note that these risks are not only confined to the spring (when the majority of lambs are born), nor are the risks only associated with sheep: cows and goats that have recently given birth can also carry similar infections.

To avoid the possible risk of infection, pregnant women are advised that they should:

• not help to lamb ewes, or to provide assistance with a cow that is calving or a nanny goat that is kidding;
• avoid contact with aborted or new-born lambs, calves or kids or with the afterbirth, birthing fluids or materials (eg bedding) contaminated by such birth products;
• avoid handling (including washing) clothing, boots or any materials that may have come into contact with animals that have recently given birth, their young or afterbirths; and,
• ensure partners attending lambing ewes or other animals giving birth take appropriate health and hygiene precautions, including the wearing of personal protective equipment and adequate washing to remove any potential contamination.

30 runaway cows killed by UK marksmen in front of horrified kids

It was a scene straight out of Amy’s favorite movie, Napolean Dynamite, times 30.

The Daily Mirror reports a herd of runaway were massacred in a field after being put down by vets – in front of horrified children.

The 30 cattle were rounded up by police and residents after being spotted wandering in local gardens in the early hours.

After public health and animal welfare experts inspected them, council officials ordered them to be shot dead.

Police say they were killed on “welfare grounds” – but the exact reasons remained unknown last night. However, some villagers were furious they were slaughtered in broad daylight – in full view of playing kids, who fled in tears.

And staff at a hospital overlooking the field shut curtains to stop patients seeing the cull in Chirk, near Wrexham, North Wales. One resident said: “Some of my friends who live on the estate near the field where the cows were shot were quite upset afterwards. Some have young child­ren who were out playing at the time and they found it very distressing.”

A police spokesman said: “All the animals had to be humanely slaughtered that evening. There were discussions between the council, Welsh Assembly and the animal welfare agency and it was decided the animals would have to be put down on welfare grounds. .”

The animals’ carcasses were taken away in two lorries the next morning to be incinerated.
 

Cow farts in a can

Sometimes I feel insightful, sometimes I feel real trashy, and sometimes I wonder, what’s with Germany?

As noted by Michael K of D-listed, an $8 tin of cow farts sold by a company in Germany. Yeah, I thought Jessica Simpson already had a fragrance out, but the makers of this mess swear they’re the first to put cow farts in a can. They also say it’s the perfect product for city people who miss the smell of the country. … And due to the overwhelming demand for the culo air of cows, they also plan to package the scent of horses, pigs and manure.
 

Dirty jobs? Try being a veterinarian

Patty Khuly writes in today’s USA Today that while the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs features revolting trades, no profession rivals the average veterinarian’s for the variety of revolting, fetid, infectious crap we have to deal with on a daily basis.

Though some have got it bad (consider the hands-on shelter worker or the bovine reproductive specialist) and some manage better than most (the radiologist, perhaps?), we all get treated to a fair bit of repulsive fare whether we like it or not.

As a mixed animal veterinarian in suburbia (dogs, cats, chickens and goats), my work is routinely disgusting. Picking through feces and vomit, for example, figures routinely in my daily

Below are the top 10 most digusting things we veterinarians and veterinary technicians must subject ourselves to.

1. Maggot picking.
This is the worst, so I’ll mention it first just to get it out of the way. In my opinion, wounds infected with maggots rival anything else I have to deal with. It’ll surely put you off rice for at least a month. (If you can stomach this, one the nine that follow are fairly easygoing.)

2. Bovine/equine reproductive examination.
Ahhh … the full-arm rectal of vet school lore. We all have to do it, but I never really minded it. It’s better than standing bare-armed in a three-sided barn when the 10-degree wind blows … though it does take some getting used to.

3. Fecal material sampling.
How many times a day do I stick something up a pet’s bum and then gently prise the stuff onto slides and into plastic containers? Ten? Twenty? Who knows, but it’s gross.

4. Dentistry for severe periodontal disease.
Never underestimate the force with which the foulness of an oral cavity can hit you — across three masks, even. If you need further inducement to consider this the revolting job that it is, factor in the pus, blood and spray of bacterial filth contaminating the air around you. Hence, goggles are a must lest you risk suddenly contracting a novel strain of especially aggressive pink eye.

There’s more. I sent the story to a veterinarian colleague, who said her personal favorite was looking through dog vomit for all the stuff the dog ate. … did he puke up all the pieces of the tennis ball (and puzzling the slimy pieces back together to find out) or is there still some in there?

She also said she loves her job.

Cow urine irritates eyes of 50; dairy pavilion closed at Australian fair

The dairy cow pavillion at the Royal Adelaide Show has been closed down after almost 50 people suffered serious eye irritations, with organizers blaming stagnant urine.

St John Ambulance volunteers were called to the Dairy Cattle pavillion about 4pm yesterday after some people reported irritation to their eyes, treating 30 people at the scene, AdelaideNow said.

Last night another 20 people went to the emergency department of the Royal Adelaide Hospital where their eyes were washed.

A spokesman for the Royal Adelaide Hospital said 17 people went to the emergency department overnight with eye irritations and had their eyes flushed.

Show chief executive John Rothwell said it was the first time in the event’s history that such a problem had occurred and its exact cause was unknown.
Health authorities have been to the show grounds to investigate and hope to have some answers by this afternoon.