49 now sick with E. coli O157 from Brisbane state fair, over 100 being tested

While walking home with our daughters from swimming and trampoline tomfoolery this morning (Monday, I’ve adapted to the different time zone), a friend asked if I’d heard about all the sick people at the Ekka, the Queensland state fair.

I said, yes.

We had a long chat about risk, the hygiene hypothesis, and why handwashng is never enough.

sorenne.kangeroo.zoo.jul.11And how all the other parents at school hate me.

She said the other parents don’t like her much either.

For the same infectious disease reasons.

Queensland Health said today 49 people, including 31 children aged between one and 15, had contracted the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC).

A 33-year-old Brisbane woman and three children, aged six, 11 and 12 – all from different families living in different suburbs – were the first to test positive to the potentially deadly bacteria on August 23.

Authorities believe they may have contracted E-coli after patting animals in the animal nursery at Brisbane’s Ekka.

Over two weeks after the first cases, there is no critical examination of the Ekka animal areas, no explanation, and nothing beyond wash your damn hands.

On Friday, I’ll be accompanying the 4-year-olds to the Lone Pines animal sanctuary to hang out with kangeroos, wallabies and other Australian wildlife. I’m sure I’ll make some handwashing.ekka.jpgnew friends.

A table of petting zoo outbreaks is available at http://bites.ksu.edu/petting-zoos-outbreaks, and a list of risk factors at petting zoos and animal contact events at fairs can be found in: Erdozain G, Kukanich K, Chapman B, Powell D. 2012. Observation of public health risk behaviours, risk communication and hand hygiene at Kansas and Missouri petting zoos – 2010-2011. Zoonoses Public Health. 2012.