Petting zoos and Agricultural Fairs give urbanites a chance to connect with their rural roots. Kids and adults alike can’t resist furry or feathered farm animals.
While everyone knows that farm animals can sometimes cause injury by biting or kicking, not everyone is aware that these same animals can carry dangerous germs that cause serious illness, especially in young children.
Many disease causing bacteria (germs) are present in farm animals manure. If a person touches something that has been contaminated with manure they could get it on their hands. If that person doesn’t wash their hands before eating or making food, the food can become contaminated with those germs and the person could come down with foodborne illness.
While anyone is at risk for these diseases, young children, persons with compromised immune systems and the elderly are particularly at risk for these types of illnesses. Of particular concern for young children is infection with E. coli O157:H7 as it can cause a serious potentially life-threatening complication called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS).
Fairs, petting zoos, and other animal exhibits have been increasingly linked to E. coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter outbreaks. Learn about past outbreaks and how to prevent outbreaks at fairs and petting zoos.
Resources for Visitors and Operators
Recent petting zoo and fair outbreaks we've been tracking.
1012 First Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
M-F, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Pacific
If you have questions about foodborne illness, your rights or the legal process, we’d be happy to answer them for you.