Run a petting zoo? A state fair? Farm visits? Then this is the most comprehensive summary of everything to be done so people don’t barf.
It’s a tad more than signs that say, “Wash your hands.”
The National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, Inc. (NASPHV) along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and a bunch of other public and animal health groups have updated guidelines for interacting with animals. The summary is below. The complete report is available at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr6004a1.htm?s_cid=rr6004a1_e&source=govdelivery.
Our table of petting zoo outbreaks is available at http://bites.ksu.edu/petting-zoos-outbreaks.
Certain venues encourage or permit the public to be in contact with animals, resulting in millions of human-animal interactions each year. These settings include county or state fairs, petting zoos, animal swap meets, pet stores, feed stores, zoologic institutions, circuses, carnivals, educational farms, livestock-birthing exhibits, educational exhibits at schools and child-care facilities, and wildlife photo opportunities. Although human-animal contact has many benefits, human health problems are associated with these settings, including infectious diseases, exposure to rabies, and injuries. Infectious disease outbreaks have been caused by Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella species, Cryptosporidium species, Coxiella burnetii, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, ringworm, and other pathogens. Such outbreaks have substantial medical, public health, legal, and economic effects.
This report provides recommendations for public health officials, veterinarians, animal venue staff members, animal exhibitors, visitors to animal venues, physicians, and others concerned with minimizing risks associated with animals in public settings. The recommendation to wash hands is the most important for reducing the risk for disease transmission associated with animals in public settings. Other important recommendations are that venues prohibit food in animal areas and include transition areas between animal areas and nonanimal areas, visitors receive information about disease risk and prevention procedures, and animals be properly cared for and managed. These updated 2011 guidelines provide new information on the risks associated with amphibians and with animals in day camp settings, as well as the protective role of zoonotic disease education.