An animal barn and a petting at a Maine county fair are under investigation after two children became infected with E. coli. The fair has been identified as the Oxford County Fair. One child has tragically died, while another continues to suffer from life-threatening hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), through its Maine affiliate, is now focusing its efforts on the petting zoo and animal barns at the Oxford County Fair which took place over the weekend of September 16-19. According to a CDC spokesperson, the CDC “is working with the State Veterinarian and the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to investigate the fact that each child attended the Oxford Fair and visited the animal barns and petting zoo.” There is a very real threat that the E. coli could be taken from this event to another in Maine or a neighboring state.
The same CDC spokesperson confirmed that the children in this outbreak, who both attended the Oxford County Fair, tested positive for Shiga Toxins related to E. coli poisoning. No serotype has yet been released, but it is likely E. coli O157-H7.
One of the two children has been identified by name, and is a youngster just four months shy of his second birthday, Colton Guay. Tragically, little Colton died as a result of his injuries. Lucy Guay, Colton’s grandmother, told reporters: “To the best of our knowledge, he never touched an animal but he was in the petting zoo.” Colton had been hospitalized on September 29th, and died on October 5th.
“Nothing can come close to the heartbreak we all feel for the Guay family,” said E. coli lawyer Ron Simon, “which is why we have been advocating for years that petting zoos implement safety standards that will safeguard the many children who enjoy them.” Ron Simon has been advocating establishing strict rules over contact with these animals, including such things as hand washing sinks, sanitizer, and education for parents at every petting zoo and livestock event. “Most E. coli cases are the result of contact with animal feces, and that makes these events inherently dangerous if proper animal handling procedures are not fully implemented.”
For information about Petting Zoo E. coli Wrongful Death litigation, or to speak to a food poisoning lawyer, call 1-888-335-4901.