A 2-year-old child has died and three other children have been sickened by E. coli bacteria after coming into contact with animals at the San Diego County Fair. According to a report in The Hill, San Diego County public health officials released a statement saying the source of the E. coli is under investigation. However, officials have determined that all of the children who became ill with E. coli symptoms had reported visiting a petting zoo area at the fair.
Infection Proves Fatal
The child was among 5 to 10 percent of people diagnosed with E. coli infections to develop a condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which leads to kidney failure. Three other children, 13 and under, were also sickened by the bacteria, but did not require hospitalization, officials said.
The children’s names were not released. But officials said all visited the fair between June 8 and June 15 and began showing symptoms between June 10 and June 16. Officials said the fair’s petting zoo will be closed, but other attractions and food stalls will remain open as planned. Fair officials say none of the contamination has to do with food service or food. The fair attracts about 1.5 million visitors to the Del Mar Fairgrounds every year.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family members of the young child who tragically died after going to the county fair. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. We wish the other affected children the very best for a quick and full recovery.
Petting Zoos and E. Coli
It’s not uncommon for children to contract E. coli infections in petting zoos. This is also not the first time that an outbreak of E. coli has occurred from visiting a petting zoo. In 2001, 16 children who visited a petting zoo in a Pennsylvania farm developed E. coli and 45 people were suspected to have become ill from the bacteria. In 2005, five children in Florida became infected with E. coli after visiting a petting zoo and developed HUS.
Since summer is the season of fairs and carnivals where petting zoos are an attraction, here are a few tips for parents and caregivers to protect their children:
- One of the simplest precautions is to be sure children wash their hands with hot, soapy water after touching the animals or animal enclosures.
- Keep hands out of mouths. Parents should accompany young children at all times in the zoo.
- Keep food away from animals. Children should not wander around petting zoos with food in their hands or share treats.
- Bring a change of clothes. If a child gets contaminants such as mud in their clothes, it’s a good idea to have kids change their clothes after a visit to the petting zoo.
- Watch for symptoms. If your child becomes ill soon after visiting a petting zoo or farm, call a doctor. This can save valuable time in making a diagnosis.
If your child has been sickened, you may also be able to seek compensation for medical costs and other expenses. An experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer can provide you with more information about pursuing your legal rights.