UK Petting Zoos Skittish After E. Coli Outbreak

57 hit by illness at animal farms open to kids
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Sep 20, 2009 10:10 AM CDT
British officials are considering barring children under the age of 5 from petting zoos after an E. coli outbreak hospitalized 10 kids.   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
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(Newser) – British officials are considering cracking down on petting zoos after 10 children were hospitalized with E. coli contracted from touching animals, reports the Telegraph. Parents were urged yesterday to "think very hard"  about taking young children to petting zoos. Four petting zoos have been shut following the E. coli outbreak that affected 57 people. Officials are considering requiring stiffer hygiene conditions and barring children under the age of 5 from petting zoos.

A key problem is that children are ''the most difficult part of the population to get to wash their hands,'' while also ''most likely to touch the animals," says one doc. E. coli is contracted through fecal contamination.