Diseases from animals in public settings
Petting zoos, petting farms, educational shows, and agritourism sites are fun and educational, but they also pose the risk of infection with germs like Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, and Campylobacter. These infections are most common in young children because they often put unwashed hands in their mouths and because their immune systems aren't as strong as in older children and adults. These infections can also cause more serious disease in young children, such as kidney failure from E. coli. Pregnant women, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems are also at higher risk of infection. The risk of getting an infection can be decreased by keeping pacifiers, bottles, food, drinks and strollers out of animal enclosures, and by thorough hand washing after leaving the animal area. Hand sanitizers are effective when hands are not visibly dirty, and their use should be followed by thorough hand washing as soon as possible.
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