E. coli O157:H7 linked to Western Fair in London, Canada, again, 10 years after 159 sickened

There are more people tragically sick with E. coli O157:H7 from what looks like another petting zoo.

But this would be especially tragic – or hopelessly sad — if proven.

In 1999, 159 people, mainly children, were thought to be sickened with E. coli O157:H7 traced to goat and sheep at the 1999 Western Fair in London, Ontario. That’s in Canada.

Scott Weese, a clinical studies professor at the University of Guelph (that’s also in Canada) and colleagues reported in the July 2007 edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases that in a study of 36 petting zoos in Ontario between May and October of 2006, they observed infrequent hand washing, food sold and consumed near the animals, and children being allowed to drink bottles or suck on pacifiers in the petting area.

There’s been several outbreaks linked to petting zoos and state fairs in the U.K., Vancouver and Denver; and that’s just this year. A complete table of outbreaks is available at http://barfblog.foodsafety.ksu.edu/uploads/file/Petting%20zoo%20outbreaks%20chart%20bites(1).pdf.

Now, 10 years later, initial reports are emerging that four people who visited the Western Fair Agri-plex (that’s in London, Ontario, Canada) sometime between September 11 and 20, 2009, have been infected with the same strain of E. coli O157:H7.

The health unit is asking anyone who developed severe diarrhea after visiting the Western Fair to contact them at (519) 663-5317 ext 2330.