Web Zap*Germs Archive

March 25, 2005

Trips to Petting Zoos Result in Life-threatening, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) Infections

Nine children in central Florida are hospitalized with life-threatening kidney infections, following their visits to petting zoos at area fairs. The kids are suffering from the rare disease, hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), caused by bacteria, typically E. coli. Symptoms of HUS include bloody diarrhea, lethargy, anemia and decreased urine output.

All the infected children touched animals recently at the petting zoos, and health authorities assume the kids were exposed to the dangerous bacteria through contact with animal feces (parent translation: poop). Though the animals and sanitary conditions at the petting zoos are being inspected, authorities fear the number of Florida children diagnosed with HUS will grow.

18 April 2005 Update: See this article for more information on hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

01 April 2005 Update: Though it has been learned that the girl who died (see below) did not die from the bacteria implicated in the petting-zoo infections, 22 people have now been confirmed infected from three different Florida fairs' petting zoos.

28 March 2005 Update: A 12-year-old girl has died after having visited one of the Florida fairs that included a petting zoo. This article has additional background details on petting-zoo story and other recent instances of E. coli infections acquired from petting zoos.


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