4 infants hospitalized, 4 others sickened due to E. coli outbreak on Kibbutz

Eight babies from Kibbutz Nir Or located near Gaza were infected with E. coli, four of which were hospitalized at Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva.

One baby is in serious condition, and two are suffering from kidney failure, according to reports.

The infection apparently originated from the petting zoo area of the Kibbutz. The Ministry of Health is currently performing tests and ordered to temporarily close the nursery where the children were infected.

It’s not a virus or bacterium, it’s a parasite: 7 positive, 16 sick with crypto after visit to Welsh petting farm

A Monmouthshire farm has cancelled a series of open day visits for primary school children following the outbreak of a diarrhea-causing virus.

powell.namePublic Health Wales along with Torfaen and Monmouthshire councils are continuing to investigate an outbreak of cryptosporidium associated with Coleg Gwent’s farm in Usk.

Seven people have tested positive for cryptosporidium and 16 others are suspected of having the bug after regular attendance at the farm or contact with those who have.

Heather Lewis, consultant in health protection for Public Health Wales, said: “We are continuing to work with Coleg Gwent, who have written to all students who may have been on the farm in March.

“As a precaution, Coleg Gwent have also cancelled a series of open days which were due to take place with invited primary schools from Tuesday, April 12 to Friday, April 15.”

A spokesman from Public Health Wales said: “Good hand washing after coming into contact with farm animals, their bedding or dirty equipment including clothing is of the utmost importance in preventing infection with cryptosporidium.

“There is no reason for anyone to avoid visiting petting farms as long as they ensure that anyone who has touched animals, thoroughly washes their hands with hot water and soap immediately afterwards and before eating, as hand sanitisers or alcoholic gels should not be solely relied upon.”

Handwashing is never enough.

Welsh farm investigated after visitors test positive for crypto

A Monmouthshire farm is being investigated after a number of visitors tested positive for a microscopic parasite that causes a diarrheal disease.

Coleg Gwent’s farm in UskPublic Health Wales, Torfaen County Borough Council and Monmouthshire County Council are investigating an outbreak of cryptosporidium at Coleg Gwent’s farm in Usk.

Three people have tested positive for cryptosporidium and eight others are under investigation after a regular attendance at the farm.

“All the confirmed cases had direct contact with the lambs at the college farm. As part of our investigations, we are checking on all those whom we believe had contact with these animals and Coleg Gwent is co­operating fully with our investigations.


‘Build a facility where people where people can wash their hands’; handwashing is never enough

I’m passionate about food safety because real people – folks who are just like my family, my neighbors or the guys on my hockey team – get sick every day.

Amanda Collins is a real person. NBC Connecticut reports that Amanda and her daughter are two of at least 15 people are ill with pathogenic E. coli after visiting a Connecticut goat farm.imagejpeg_02

“I walked right in,” Collins said. “Me loving farms, I held the goats, pet the goats and brought my daughter into the stall.”

Collins said it was a wonderful experience, with a knowledgeable staff and plenty of children and their parents around petting the goats.

However, a few days after the visit, the symptoms started. At first, she thought she had a stomach bug, but when her daughter developed the same symptoms, she knew something was wrong.

“Friday is when it hit, when I ended up having inestinal pain, diarrhea, seeing bloody stool,” Collins said. “And just seeing her go through the same thing that I physically felt myself is agnozing.“

After trips to the doctor’s office and the emergency room, both she and her daughter tested positive for E.coli. She did not put all of the pieces together until she got a call from the CDC.

“That’s when it clicked and I was like I did visit a farm and I had a lot of interaction with the animals,” Collins said.

“I cried a lot,” Collins said. “I was very anxious. I was upset about it at first, but never angry at the farm though.”

Collins said both she and her daughter used hand sanitizer at the farm and wet wipes once they got to the car. She said this will not stop them from visiting farms in the future.

“The only thing I would have to said is please build a facility where people where people can wash their hands because I think that will stop a lot from spreading.” Collins said.

Reducing risk in animal contact settings is more than just handwashing. Soil, sawdust, rails and food are all vectors.

Click here for a table summarizing petting zoo and animal contact outbreaks over the past 25 years.

15 sick with E. coli linked to goats at Conn. farm

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) today issued the following update on the E.coli outbreak linked to the Oak Leaf Farm in Lebanon, CT

aok.leaf.dairyAs of 1:00 p.m. today, DPH is investigating 15 confirmed cases of E. coli O157 infection.  The number of cases could increase in the near future as DPH is actively identifying individuals who were not initially reported. 

 So far, investigators have been able to link 14 of these cases to Oak Leaf Farm.  The patients range in age from 1-44 years old, with a median age of six.  In total, five patients have been hospitalized with three still in the hospital.  Two of the hospitalized patients have been diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), as first reported last week.

 Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dispatched a team to Connecticut to assist in the investigation of this outbreak.  Today, officials from DPH, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, the Uncas Health District, and the CDC team are at the Oak Leaf Farm conducting an onsite investigation.  The Farm remains voluntarily closed to the public, and the owners are cooperating with the investigation.

 The outbreak was first identified on Thursday, March 24th when six of seven individuals sickened with E. coli were confirmed by DPH to have recently visited Oak Leaf Farm and come into contact with goats on the farm. 

From the we’ve-never-made-anyone-sick-before files: Conn. E. coli on goat farm edition

The goat farm in Lebanon that may be linked to an E. coli outbreak has been given two stipulations by the health department, the owner told NBC Connecticut.

oak-leaf-dairy-goat-farm-march-6th-1024x684Oak Leaf Dairy Farm is no longer allowed to have the public visit its goats and may not distribute unpasteurized products, Mark Reynolds, the farm’s owner, said.

Reynolds said the outbreak has already started affecting his wholesale business. He said he had never had E. coli linked to his farm before.

The Department of Health and other agencies began to investigate Oak Leaf Dairy Farm after seven people contracted E. coli.

Six of those people were children who visited the farm and petted the goats.

Connecticut Children’s Medical Center said two patients have been diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

Seven E. coli illnesses linked to Connecticut farm

Visiting animal displays are risky. Some animals shed pathogens in crazy high concentrations. The pathogens move around with foot traffic, sawdust and soil; end up on hand rails, rafters, water bottles and snacks.

Addressing risks is not just about handwashing.

According to the Hartford Courant a cluster of seven cases of pathogenic E. coli are linked to visiting a farm in Connecticut.

Officials said Thursday that six of the seven patients had visited the Oak Leaf Dairy Farm, and as a precaution the farm is not allowing people to visit the animals.

The seven patients are between 2 and 25 years old, according to DPH.

“Earlier today, DPH was informed of several patients from southeastern Connecticut who have become ill with E. coli,” said DPH Commissioner Raul Pino in a statement. “We are closely monitoring the situation and working with our partners at the CDC and other relevant stakeholders. We will continue to work diligently to provide the public with the information it needs as we investigate.”

Additionally the DPH was notified of two cases of hemolytic ermic syndrome, which affects the kidneys and the bloods ability to clot, officials said. It can develop in patients who have contracted E. coli.

A call to the farm Oak Leaf Dairy Farm was not immediately returned.

A table of petting zoo related outbreaks can be found here.


60 sickened: After 22 years, Milk Makers Fest in Lynden called off for 2016

The Bellingham Herald reports that about 1,325 Whatcom County first-grade students, plus the teachers and parents who accompanied them, from all school districts in Whatcom County went to the festival April 21-23 at the Northwest Washington Fair & Event Center in Lynden. The festival had been going on for 22 years by then.

It was organized by the Whatcom County Dairy Women.

A total of 60 people likely were sickened in the outbreak that was traced to the north end of the dairy barn where the event was held, according to a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in October.

Milk Makers FestThe decision to not hold the event this year was made sometime after Christmas, according to Kim Vlas, an officer with the Whatcom County Dairy Women.

She declined to say whether the decision was made because of the E. coli cases, citing a pending lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges the organizations failed to protect children from being infected by Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157: H7, the strain that sickened them, because they didn’t follow established public health rules and guidelines, including from the National Association of State Public Heath Veterinarians and the CDC. Such measures are meant to reduce illness in people who come into contact with farm animals.

Beaver fever: Petting zoos, untreated water primary sources of Giardia at home and abroad

The purpose of this study is to determine how demographic and exposure factors related to giardiasis vary between travel and endemic cases.

beaver.feverExposure and demographic data were gathered by public health inspectors from giardiasis cases reported from the Region of Waterloo from 2006 to 2012. Logistic regression models were fit to assess differences in exposure to risk factors for giardiasis between international travel-related cases and Canadian acquired cases while controlling for age and sex. Multinomial regression models were also fit to assess the differences in risk profiles between international and domestic travel-related cases and endemic cases.

Travel-related cases (both international and domestic) were more likely to go camping or kayaking, and consume untreated water compared to endemic cases. Domestic travel-related cases were more likely to visit a petting zoo or farm compared to endemic cases, and were more likely to swim in freshwater compared to endemic cases and international travel-related cases. International travellers were more likely to swim in an ocean compared to both domestic travel-related and endemic cases.

These findings demonstrate that travel-related and endemic cases have different risk exposure profiles which should be considered for appropriately targeting health promotion campaigns.

Beaver_FeverA comparison of exposure to risk factors for giardiasis in non-travellers, domestic travellers and international travellers in a Canadian community, 2006–2012

Epidemiology and Infection, Volume 144, Issue 5, April 2016, pages 980-999, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0950268815002186

L. Swirski, D. L. Pearl, A. S. Peregrine, and K. Pintar


But it’s such a cute lamb: 46 sickened with crypto at UK petting farm

A case-control study was conducted to investigate an outbreak of 46 cases of cryptosporidiosis in visitors to a petting farm in England.

amy_s_lamb_aug_12(1)Details of exposures on the farm were collected for 38 cases and 39 controls, recruited through snowball sampling. Multivariable logistic regression identified that cases were 5·5 times more likely than controls to have eaten without washing their hands [95% confidence interval (CI) 1·51–19·9, P = 0·01] and 10 times less likely to report being informed of risk of infection on arrival (odds ratio 0·10, 95% CI 0·01–0·71, P = 0·02).

An uncommon Cryptosporidium parvum gp60 subtype (IIaA19G1R1) was identified in a lamb fecal sample and all subtyped cases (n = 22). We conclude that lack of verbal advice and non-compliance with hand washing are significantly associated with a risk of cryptosporidiosis on open farms. These findings highlight the public health importance of effectively communicating risk to petting farm visitors in order to prevent future outbreaks of zoonotic infections.

Cryptosporidiosis outbreak in visitors of a UK industry-compliant petting farm caused by a rare Cryptosporidium parvum subtype: a case-control study

Epidemiology and Infection, Volume 144, Issue 5, April 2016, pages 1000-1009, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0950268815002319 

Utsi, S. J. Smith, R. M. Chalmers, and S. Padfield


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 62:90-99, 2015

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


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.