40 sick in Sweden from Cryptosporidium at kosläpp (letting the cows out)

Apparently it’s a thing in Sweden to go and watch the cows being let out; so is Cryptosporidium.

kosläppSome 40 people have fallen ill after being infected by Cryptosporidium, reports Skovde News.

It is associated with kosläpp, a Hjo and one in Skövde, two outbreaks occurred in May.

Infectious disease doctors in the area now warning parents to let young children petting calves at kosläpp and immediately afterwards eat food or refreshments, writes Skovde News. Then they risk getting upset stomach with abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Wash health officials limit fair events after E. coli outbreak

State health officials have restricted events at the Lynden, Whatcom County, fairgrounds, where an outbreak of dangerous E. coli sickened dozens last month, to prevent potential spread of additional illness.

petting.zoo.1.apr.13Dr. Scott Lindquist, the Washington state epidemiologist for communicable diseases, said the move is a precaution while county, state and federal officials determine the source of the outbreak that sent at least eight people to hospitals.

“We’re recommending they not have any more events until we’ve finished our investigation,” Lindquist said.

The request immediately affects a dog show planned for Saturday by the Mount Baker Kennel Club, expected to attract 800 canines and more than 2,000 people to the Northwest Washington Fair & Event Center.

Stiles said she understood and applauded health officials’ efforts to make sure no one else got sick at the site where more than 1,300 first-graders were exposed to Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157: H7.

The outbreak followed the annual Milk Makers Fest held April 21-23. At least 15 people contracted lab-confirmed infections, with eight hospitalized and three who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a life-threatening complication of E. coli illness.

About 30 others are still being tested. Whatcom County health officials originally estimated as many as 47 people were sickened, but they’ve changed the way the cases are defined.

Handwashing in never enough: 42 now sick with E. coli O157 linked to farm visit in Wash.

The Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) is investigating an outbreak of shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157 associated with the Milk Makers Fest that was held at the Northwest Fairgrounds in Lynden on 4/21 – 4/23/15.

cow.hug.cumberlandOver 1,000 primary school children from all of the school districts in Whatcom County attended the event. Most of the cases involve children who attended the event. Several older children involved with the event and some adults and close contacts of cases have also become ill.

WCHD is continuing to interview cases to determine if there was a common food or water source or activity, such as the petting zoo or other contact with livestock. Washington State Department of Health Communicable Disease Epidemiology is assisting with the outbreak investigation.

Cumulative total: 22 cases* (7 cases have been hospitalized), 20 probable cases ** Change since last report of 5/2/15: no new cases, +1 probable cases, no new hospitalizations

*Cases include those with positive labs (preliminary presumptive positive O157 and final confirmed positives), and clinical cases with close contact with a case with positive or presumptive positive labs.

** Probable cases are cases with clinical symptoms and were associated with the event, but lab results are not available or labs were not done.

The state public health lab is testing confirmed E. coli O157 isolates for serogroup (to determine if O157:H7 or another related serogroup). Preliminary positive O157 isolates are regrown and have further testing done at a commercial lab to confirm O157. We expect to get the first results of serogroup testing from the state public health lab this week.

Handwashing is never enough: 32 suspected sick from WA animal contact area

The Whatcom County Health Department is continuing to look for the cause of an E. coli outbreak among schoolchildren who went to the Milk Makers Fest last week in Lynden.

MILK_MAKERS_FEST_020.aurora_standalone.prod_affiliate.39Um, cows? Sheep? Goats?

Six children have been sickened so far with shiga toxin-producing E. coli and up to 32 are reported with symptoms.

The Milk Makers Fest introduces young students to farming. It also gave them a chance to pet farm animals.

Meanwhile, health officials are reminding people that they should wash their hands well, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing food for eating.

“Everybody has to be careful with their hand washing,” said Greg Stern, Whatcom County Health officer.

Uh-huh.

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

Best practices for planning events encouraging human-animal interactions

Zoonoses and Public Health

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

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 US 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.

3 first-graders sick: Washington health investigating E. coli cases in children at farm event in Lynden

Sorenne is in grade 1. Her school fete is this Sunday.

They plan to have a petting zoo, and I’ve said, this is a bad idea and let the principal know.

courtlynn.petting.zooWe’ll be at hockey.

At least three Whatcom County first-graders in Washington state, and possibly a fourth, have been sickened by shiga-toxin producing E. coli after attending the Milk Makers Fest in Lynden last week.

About 1,325 first-graders and their chaperones went to the event April 21-23 at the fairgrounds in Lynden. It was put on by the Whatcom County Dairy Women.

The event introduced young students to farming. It also gave the students a chance to pet farm animals, including small horses, sheep, rabbits, chickens and a calf, the dairy women wrote on their Facebook page.

Pasteurized chocolate milk was given to the children but isn’t considered a source of contamination because pasteurization destroys E. coli, according to the Facebook post.

“Nothing’s been ruled out,” said Greg Stern, Whatcom County health officer, on Tuesday, April 28.

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

Best practices for planning events encouraging human-animal interactions

Zoonoses and Public Health

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

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 US 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.petting1-791x1024petting2-791x1024

 

Who says I don’t play well with others: Kansas State veterinarian outlines safety guidelines for kids handling animals

Do you have kids who love to find frogs and turtles in the wild or snuggle with baby chicks and ducklings? Kansas State University veterinarians say it’s great to encourage children to become interested in animals at a young age, but there are certain precautions and guidelines you should know.

uq.petting.zoo.1.aug.11“We want kids to be excited about animals, but it’s really important for parents to remember that safety should always come first,” said Kate KuKanich, associate professor of internal medicine in the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. “We want to make sure all of these experiences that kids have with animals are safe, healthy and positive experiences, which is why everyone should follow the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention recommendations about interacting with animals.”

According to the CDC, parents should closely monitor which animals young kids come into contact with, and kids under the age of 5 should not be allowed to touch reptiles like turtles, snakes and lizards; amphibians like frogs, toads, salamanders and newts; and young poultry like chicks, ducklings and goslings. All of these animals are carriers and shedders of salmonella, which can cause illness in children and immunosuppressed adults.

“Salmonella is so common in reptiles that reports have shown that more than 90 percent of our reptiles may be carrying and shedding the bacteria — and they often don’t show symptoms,” KuKanich said. “Having young children wash their hands after petting the animal isn’t enough protection from salmonella because of the possibility of cross-contamination. Children who pet these animals often have risky behaviors, such as wiping their hands on their shirt, pants or the counter, or putting their hands in their mouth before washing. All of these actions can lead to the spread of the bacteria and ultimately, illness.”

More than 70,000 people become sick from salmonella through contact with reptiles each year in the U.S., with the main signs of salmonellosis being fever and bloody diarrhea.

“It’s just not worth the risk of letting toddlers handle, pet or even be in the same room with these animals,” KuKanich said.

That doesn’t mean animals can’t be part of young children’s lives. Kukanich says some fun animals that young kids can learn about and safely pet — as long as these animals are healthy — include pocket pets, adult dogs and cats, and adult farm animals.

ekka.petting.zooPetting zoos and farms can provide an excellent opportunity for children to learn and interact with animals. A recent study from KuKanich; Gonzalo Erdozain, a 2014 Kansas State University Doctor of Veterinary Medicine graduate; and colleagues found three main ways to reduce the risk of transmission of infection in these settings: knowing the risks involved with interacting with animals, including the potential diseases and how they spread; taking the proper sanitary measure of washing your hands; and being aware of risky behaviors that could lead to illness.

“Young kids are more prone to risky behaviors around animals, such as putting their hands in their mouths right after petting an animal or letting a pacifier touch an animal before going into their mouth,” Erdozain said. “Parents and teachers should supervise kids closely to minimize these behaviors, encourage hand-washing and help ensure all animal encounters are safe as well as fun.”

Previous research by Erdozain, KuKanich and colleagues found that of 574 visitors attending petting zoos in Kansas and Missouri, only 37 percent attempted any kind of hand hygiene.

“Think about how many kids pick up a turtle or toad they find in the yard and then don’t wash their hands immediately after handling the animal,” Erdozain said. “Properly washing your hands is the best way to decrease the chances of getting sick after petting or handling an animal.”

Proper hand-washing includes wetting hands, applying soap, rubbing for at least 15 seconds, rinsing with a significant flow of running water and drying with paper towels — not on clothes. KuKanich suggests teaching kids to sing a song while washing their hands to ensure they wash long enough.

The study, “Best Practices for Planning Events Encouraging Human-Animal Interactions,” was published in the journal Zoonoses and Public Health. Authors include Erdozain; KuKanich; Ben Chapman, North Carolina State University; and Doug Powell, powellfoodsafety.com.

Duh files: Doctors don’t always ask about pet-related health risks

According to NPR, if you’re being treated for cancer, an iguana might not be the pet for you.

goat.petting.zooDitto if you’re pregnant, elderly or have small children at home.

Pets can transmit dozens of diseases to humans, but doctors aren’t always as good as they should be in asking about pets in the home and humans’ health issues, a study finds.

And that goes for people doctors and animal doctors. “The fact that they’re equally uneducated is concerning,” says Jason Stull, an assistant professor of veterinary preventive medicine at Ohio State University and lead author of the review, which was published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. “There hasn’t been a great dialogue between the veterinary community, the human health community and the public.”

Amphibians, reptiles, rodents and young poultry can spread Salmonella. Back in 2013 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned of an outbreak of a rare strain of Salmonella among people who had pet hedgehogs, and suggested that people lay off cuddling the adorable creatures.

Parasites like giardia and Cryptosporidium cause diarrheal disease and can be spread by dogs and cats. Those are nasty but treatable. Rarer parasites like Echinococcus tapeworms can cause liver failure and death.

People should be sure to let their human health-care providers know that they have pets, Stull says, and let the vet know if there are family members who are at greater risk of animal-borne infections. That includes children under age 5, pregnant women, older people, and anyone with a weakened immune system due to things like chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS or organ transplants.

If you’re intrigued by the notion of Fluffy as disease vector, you’ve got friends at (decent hockey player Scott Weese’) Worms and Germs  blog from the University of Guelph. They’re closely following the new outbreak of canine flu, for example.

At The Ohio State University and partner institutions, researchers have compiled the latest information from more than 500 studies worldwide to make recommendations on how families can minimize the risk of disease transmission by choosing the right type of pet, or by making small changes in how they enjoy the pets they already have.

The review was published in the April 20 issue of CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Queensland Health? Hello? Petting zoo ignorance

Petting zoos at a mall or a school without proper handwashing facilities is a bad idea.

Even with proper facilities, it’s a bad idea.

An alert reader sent this in from the Greenslopes mall, a few km from our house in Brisbane.

There is hand sanitizer in the upper right, but no handwashing facilities.

And no idea if anyone is using the sanitizer.

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

petting.zoo.greenslopes.apr.15

 

But handwashing is never enough: Ireland says wash hands after farm visits

As the weather improves and visits to outdoor farms increase, the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) is reminding parents and teachers of the importance of schoolchildren washing their hands after being in contact with animals.

handwash.UK.petting.zoo.09A visit to a farm and the chance to see and handle animals is an exciting time for young children.

However, it is vitally important to remember that farm animals can carry harmful bacteria such as E. coli, which can be transferred to children through contact with the animal or its faeces. If the child then goes on to eat, drink, or put their hands near their mouth, without washing their hands, there is a real risk of serious infection.

Urging everyone to follow simple hygiene steps to avoid spoiling anyone’s fun, Malcolm Downey who heads HSENI’s farm safety team said: “Anti-bacterial gels and wipes alone are not a substitute for properly washing your hands.”

Sorry Malcolm, it’s not that simple.

Our paper on human-animal interactions published in Zoonoses and Public Health, includes a 2-page checklist for parents, and the teachers who book these events.

Gonzalo Erdozain, Kate KuKanich, Chapman and I have all seen microbiologically terrible practices at petting zoos or in homes, and read about them from around the world, so we thought, maybe we should try and provide some guidance.

The uniting factor is we all have kids, and in my case, grandkids, and keep adding more.

claudia.e.coli.petting.zoo.may.14In Brisbane, they have the Ekka, something like the Texas State Fair. The petting zoo was absolute madness, and after living in Brisbane and hanging out with micro-types I got the message, don’t go to the Ekka, you’ll get sick. We didn’t go in 2013: 49 people, primarily kids, got sick from E. coli O157 (and in typical Queensland style, the outbreak has never been written up, there has been no follow-up, nothing; guess it would be bad for agriculture).

North Carolina has had repeated and terrible outbreaks.

As a father of five daughters, I’ve had many requests over 20 years to go on a school trip to see the animals. As a food safety type, I’ve been routinely concerned about best practices. The other parents may dislike microbiology, but I’m concerned with the health and safety of the children involved.

A table of petting zoo outbreaks is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Petting-Zoo-Outbreaks-Table-4-8-14.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.

petting1-791x1024

 

 

 

 

petting2-791x1024

13 sickened: Handwashing is never enough and why I’m wary of animal displays: Crypto outbreak contained in Michigan

An outbreak of cryptosporidiosis at the Centreville High School agriculture program sent one student to the hospital and infected 12 others, according to Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency.

cow.poop2The outbreak is contained and the hospitalized student has been released.

The outbreak came in early March in the co-op vet/ag science program run through St. Joseph Intermediate School District and involving students from throughout the county, according to Rebecca Burns, environmental health director.

The parasite is commonly found near calves, Burns said the health agency identified the calf program as the source.

“The school is all in to make sure this doesn’t happened again,” Burns said. “The problem was traced to poor hand-washing.”

Burns said there was hand sanitizer in the barn, but that alone is not enough.

cow_hug_cumberland“Nothing beats soap, water and friction to get rid of the parasite,” she said.

Two other major outbreaks of crypto were reported in the tri-county health district since 2011. In Hillsdale County in 2012, 28 people were infected at a pool party. In 2011, a Quincy firefighter was hospitalized and 19 others infected while fighting a fire at a calf barn. Firefighters used water from a pond nearby to extinguish the blaze.