Petting Zoo

The East Shore District Health Department reminds our residents of the health risks of interacting with animals at fairs, petting zoos, educational experiences and aquariums.

Tragically, a toddler died from an E. coli infection, and three other children fell ill with the same disease, after visiting the San Diego County Fair last month. Every year, many people get sick after visiting an animal exhibit. Many types of germs that can spread between animals and people. Children 5 years of age and younger, people with weakened immune systems, and adults over 65 years of age are more likely to get sick from the germs animals can carry, and should take extra precautions at animal exhibits.

There are three ways you can protect yourself and your family when having these interactions: Wash your hands, Keep food and drink separate from the animals and Supervise children around animals.

Locate the hand washing stations nearby to use when done visiting the animals. Wash your hands right after touching animals or anything in the areas where they live. Wash your hands even if you didn’t touch the animals. Running water and soap are best, but if they are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Don’t eat or drink around animals, and keep food and drinks away from animal areas. Don’t share your food with the animals. Animals should eat the food provided for them by the animal exhibit.

Always supervise children around animals. Children 5 years of age and younger should not have contact with reptiles, amphibians, or live poultry. These animals are more likely to make them sick. Leave strollers, pacifiers, cups, or toys outside the exhibit. Don’t let children to put their thumbs, fingers, or objects (like pacifiers) in their mouths when they’re around animals. Don’t let children sit or play on the ground in animal areas. Teach children to approach animals with caution and follow the rules. Make sure to follow any rules provided on signs or verbally by the staff.

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