San Francisco Marin Medical Society Blog

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) Infections Potentially Associated with Exposure to Farm Animal Exhibits at the San Diego County Fair

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infections have been identified in seven children (four with confirmed STEC O157) who had recently attended the San Diego County Fair; all seven had visited areas where farm animals were exhibited. The County Fair is now over, and the animal areas are being cleaned and disinfected. Farm animals, especially ruminants such as cattle, goats, and sheep, can be asymptomatic reservoirs of STEC.

As summer fairs are ongoing:

  • Fair attendees should wash their hands after visiting animal exhibits
  • Healthcare providers should be aware of STEC infection in patients who recently visited farm animals exhibits and report suspect cases promptly to local public health
  • Local health departments should: 1) enhance surveillance for STEC infections associated with farm animals, 2) remind healthcare providers, especially Urgent Care providers, to consider and to ask about fair attendance and animal contact in individuals presenting with symptoms

Read the full text of the health alert

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