Mower County Fair Cancels Petting Zoo Amid E.Coli Concerns

Updated: 08/13/2014 7:48 PM
Created: 08/13/2014 5:25 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- The same traveling petting zoo being blamed on an E. coli outbreak in the state was scheduled at another local fair, but canceled as a precaution.

It's an update to a story we brought you Tuesday after 13 cases of E. coli were reported from contact with animals from a traveling petting zoo including three cases connected to the Olmsted County Fair. 
Mower County Fair officials tell us the day before the fair they were notified by health officials about concerns with the petting zoo.

Fair officials say the tests done on animals at the petting zoo were not expected back by the time the Mower county fair opened, so fair officials decided to cancel the zoo's appearance as a precaution.

"Unless there is an official clearance from the test, it's a no go," says Mower County Fair President Neal Anderson, "we don't want to jeopardize the fair or any individuals involved and the integrity of the fair."

Out of the 13 cases, seven people had to be hospitalized, including three children.  We've learned from the three of the cases from the Olmsted County Fair, two of the three adults had to be hospitalized.

Olmsted County fair officials say the USDA keeps close tabs on any animals at the fair, but because the bacteria can incubate for days before symptoms start, sometimes situations like these are unavoidable.

Health officials say the owner of the petting zoo has been cooperative during the investigation and voluntarily withheld his animals from recent county fairs.