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Food Safety News

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WA Petting Zoo Linked to 10 Illnesses

At least 10 people have fallen ill with E. coli infections beginning in mid-October after visiting a petting zoo and pumpkin patch in Washington state, the Oregonian reports.

The owners of Willow Grove Gardens Pumpkin Patch voluntarily closed the premises after new sinks for hand-washing failed to prevent visitors from getting sick.

The sinks had been installed following the first wave of illnesses by request of local health officials after an inspection on Oct. 18. The petting zoo originally only supplied hand-sanitizer dispensers near the animal areas. Willow Grove also had to install signs to warn visitors of the risks of bacterial disease transmission and to remind visitors to wash their hands.

Four children tested positive for E. coli O157:H7, while another was lab-confirmed with E. coli O121. Another five people suffered symptoms of E. coli infection after visiting the farm but were not tested.

Food Safety News placed a request for more information to the Cowlitz County Department of Health on Friday, but has not yet received a call back from its spokesperson.

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