Boy Dies After Visiting Petting Zoo, And You Will Want To Know Why

Every child lights up when they see a cute, fuzzy animal they can play with, and it’s practically impossible to deter them from touching them. 

It’s also irresistible to the parent who loves to see their child enjoy such simple delights. 

That is why one mom took her child to the petting zoo, but the seemingly innocent pleasure turned deadly after illness struck. 

Annually, many towns have a county fair with fried food and rides where farm friends meet for a memorable experience.

San Diego is no different, and along with all the typical things you would find at a fair, one of the highlights was the petting zoo. 

This petting zoo came with more than cows, pigs, and sheep. Lurking beneath the fun and laughter was a bacteria that changed the course of a family’s life.

ABC News reports:

A 2-year-old child has died after contracting E. coli at a petting zoo that was part of the San Diego County Fair.”

The young deceased boy was not the only one to contract the bacteria either, with four children struggling with the crippling symptoms of the powerful bacteria, according to the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency.

Various ages are infected, from 2 to 13 years old, after touching animals in the fair’s petting zoo.

County public health officer, Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, said in an official statement:

“Our sympathies go out to the family of the child that died from this illness. While most people recover from this illness without complications, 5 to 10 percent of people diagnosed with STEC develop the life-threatening kidney infection.”

While E.coli carries only bad connotations, it is a bacteria that is found in the stomachs of many animals and humans, with no debilitating symptoms. 

Some strands of the bacteria, however, can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and severe pain, reports the Mayo Clinic.

Children are especially vulnerable to it’s harmful effects, and can also develop life-threatening kidney infections and organ failure.

You may be wondering if the bacteria actually came from one of the many food stands where large batches of less than healthy fare is served. 

The health department claimed to have tested all the food on the grounds, and “found no contamination”, according to ABC News.

General manager of the San Diego Fair, Tim Fennell, was the one to report the despairing news at a press conference about the young boy who tragically lost his life:

Unfortunately, we’ve learned a young child, about three hours ago, passed away. I want to say our hearts, our prayers, our thoughts go out to the family and the friends of this young child. We’re devastated. It appears that these folks attended the fair between June 8 and June 15 and were involved with contact, possibly, with a livestock animal at the petting zoo. No contamination has to do with food service or food at all.”

In closing, he added, “We are heartbroken over this incident.” 

In an effort to stop the spread of the bacteria, the fair has shut down the petting zoo, but the rest of the fair is up and running. 

Tragedies like this are devastating, and we can’t help but think it could have been one of our children. 

Animals can be entertaining, a good companion, and an affectionate playmate, but they can also harbor bacteria and diseases that are deadly to humans; especially livestock. 

This doesn’t mean that you should never allow your children to enjoy petting the animals when available, but that you should take certain precautions to ensure their safety. 

If your child is at an age where they are constantly putting their hands in their mouth, such as a baby teething or a toddler tasting his environment, then you should keep them in a carrier or stroller throughout the petting zoo.

All children should be told about safety measures with animals before entering a petting zoo, or anywhere there are large animals- like how not to put your hand to their mouth, don’t stand behind them, and never touch the face or mouth while dealing with them. 

Watch out for areas of urine or feces to limit contact contamination by stepping around these areas, or avoiding them altogether. 

After the children have had their fill of fur and fun, be sure to go straight to a hand washing station to thoroughly cleanse hands. 

Wash for a minimum of 30 seconds vigorously with an anti-bacterial soap. Don’t make any other stops along the way. Every area you touch before washing your hands is another possible infected child. 

The fair is a memorable event for children, so try your best to not let it be tainted by heartbreaking tales of loss.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family who lost a precious life all too early. 

Please let us know in the comments section if you have ever contracted an illness from a petting zoo, or if you take precautions to stay healthy after visiting one.

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