Handwashing is never enough: Maine man says 20-month-old son died of E. coli linked to petting fair

A man from the town of Poland says his 20-month-old son died of an illness caused by E. coli and that the child may have come in contact with it while visiting a petting zoo at the Oxford County Fair in mid-September.

Colton-GuayThe toddler is believed to be one of two young children who visited the fair’s petting zoo around the same time and were hospitalized with symptoms of E. coli. The father made the announcement on Facebook, saying he was doing so to warn other parents about the dangers of letting small children pet farm animals.

State health officials have confirmed they are investigating two E. coli cases, but they have not confirmed that anyone has died or named either of the people affected.

However, Victor Herschaft of Auburn posted a message on his Facebook page Tuesday asking that friends and family share the message about his son, Myles, who was at Maine Medical Center undergoing treatment for E. coli.

A nursing supervisor said Myles was in fair condition Tuesday night.

“This (E. coli) is what Myles contracted and I hope no one else is sick or gets sick. If your child has symptoms of an illness please don’t take it lightly and please get your children checked out,” Herschaft wrote. “Myles is still battling this HUS (hemolytic uremic syndrome).”

Herschaft said his son and the other boy went to the same petting zoo around the same time. They were admitted to the hospital within 6 hours of each other, he said.

ekka.petting.zoo.aug.12State health officials say there is only one way of preventing the spread of E. coli after touching farm animals: washing hands throughly with soap and water or using some type of hand sanitizer.

Wrong.

Handwashing is never enough, and we have documented numerous cases of shiga-toxin producing E. coli linked to animal exhibits that involve aerosolization of E. coli or cross-contamination.