UK child stricken with E. coli O157; petting zoo told to clean up

After numerous outbreaks, U.K. health watchdogs are getting somewhat more serious about the risks posed by petting zoos and have banned a zoo from allowing the public contact with animals after its lack of hand-washing facilities posed a potential risk to the public.

Unfortunately, a child in Lancashire was already stricken with E. coli O157 after visiting the Dalton zoo in the summer.

South Lakes Wild Animal Park was served with a prohibition notice under the Health and Safety at Work Act after failing an inspection carried out by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and Barrow Borough Council’s environmental health on August 18.

The North West Evening Mail reports inspectors found the zoo had failed to comply with new hygiene guidelines.

Prohibition notices can only be served when an inspector believes activities on at a premises involve or will involve a risk of serious personal injury.

The tourist attraction was ordered to stop letting people have contact with its animals until it had cleaned areas of the park and could provide handwashing facilities.

Zoo owner David Gill said he had taken immediate action after the notice was issued by installing 30 new handwashing areas.

Dr Nigel Calvert, NHS Cumbria’s associate director of public health, said: “The case of E coli was not definitely linked to the facility.

A list of petting zoo related outbreaks is available at http://bites.ksu.edu/petting-zoos-outbreaks.