Jun 27, 2005
The Children’s Zoo in Toledo was closed for the weekend after three animals tested positive for an infectious bacteria that causes gastrointestinal illness.
No patrons have reported being ill, but officials said Friday that the petting portion of the children’s zoo could remain closed for the rest of the summer.
“This is not a major public health hazard, we’re just being extremely, extremely cautious,” said Andrew Odum, chairman of the zoo’s biological programs committee.
The zoo is part of the much larger Toledo Zoo.
Recently two baby calves sharing the same stall tested positive during routine checks for a bacteria known as campylobacter. A sow that had just given birth in an adjacent stall also tested positive.
The three animals – which were kept in stall areas beyond the reach of zoo patrons – were isolated for observation, although none showed signs of sickness, zoo officials said.
About 30 barnyard animals in the children’s zoo, including goats, sheep, pigs, and calves, were retested.
Symptoms of campylobacteriosis, the disease caused by the bacteria, include diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever. It is transferred by saliva and touching of an animal’s feces. Symptoms appear two to five days after exposure, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Animals at the children’s zoo are loaned to the Toledo Zoo by area farmers and institutions for the summer.
The zoo’s calves and pigs arrived in May from several area farmers, while the sheep arrived in May from the University of Findlay.
In April, state health officials in Florida said 26 people, including 23 children, fell ill from E. coli linked to petting zoos at three fairs.