50 sickened with E. coli last year in Brisbane; state fair risks poorly managed

For some reason, this colony of convicts refers to its mayors as “The Lord Mayor.”

ekka.petting.zooIt’s almost that time of year again for one of the city’s most loved annual events to roll into town. The Ekka will light up the RNA Show grounds at Bowen Hills from 8-17 August. If you are heading along, don’t forget to drop by Brisbane City Council’s stand in the Woolworths Pavilion. Always fun and interactive, this year’s stand showcases the many roles Council plays in our community as well as some of the things we all love about Brisbane.”


Except last year at the Ekka, the equivalent of a U.S. state fair, at least 50 people were stricken with E. coli O157 from the animal contact in the petting zoo.

There has been no public follow up, no reference to what is being done to improve the situation this year, and no chance we’ll be attending.

Best practices for planning events encouraging human-animal interactions

Zoonoses and Public Health

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.


A table of petting zoo outbreaks is available at https://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Petting-Zoo-Outbreaks-Table-4-8-14.xlsx.