AR-News: farm exhibits & infected children
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Wed Jul 23 15:16:32 EDT 2003
Article synopsis from the 7/23 FSNet:
FARM ANIMALS POSE GREATER RISK TO CITY CHILDREN, PROFESSOR SAYS: FARMERS'
CHILDREN LIKELY BUILD UP IMMUNITY TO E. COLI THROUGH CONTACT WITH ANIMALS
The Ottawa Citizen, Erin Conway-Smith, July 23, 2003
Carlton Gyles, a pathobiology professor at the University of Guelph, was
cited as saying that city children who visit animal exhibitions are
particularly vulnerable to the potentially fatal strain of E. coli that can
be contracted by petting farm animals, adding, "They have not had as much
previous exposure to the organism and built up an immunity."
The story explains that two cases of Escherichia coli O157:H7, were recently
linked to the Canada Agriculture Museum at the Central Experimental Farm,
and both cases were in children who had recently visited the farm and had
contact with animals.
The link between the cases and the farm has not been confirmed, and results
are expected back from a lab at the University of Guelph this week.
Christina Lucas, a spokeswoman for the agriculture museum, was cited as
saying that children are still allowed to pet the animals, though they are
told to wash their hands immediately afterwards.
Ms. Lucas added there has not been a drop in museum attendance over the past
few days, and that between 200 and 400 people visit the museum on an average
day, and about 100 children aged four to 12 attend the farm's week-long day
camps, adding, "It's a normal flow for this time of year. Nobody has
expressed any specific concerns."
There have been six cancellations by day-camp registrants, and in every case
money was fully refunded. People are normally required to pay $20 for a
refund on a cancelled program.
Dr. Paul Sockett, director of foodborne, waterborne and zoonotic infections
for Health Canada, was cited as saying that one or two outbreaks of E. coli
linked to an animal exhibition are reported every year in North America, and
that Health Canada is in the preliminary stages of developing a set of
guidelines for animal exhibitions in order to minimize the risk of people
contracting E. coli from animals.
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