In the wake of an E. coli outbreak linked to a petting zoo at a North Carolina county fair that sickened over 100 people last fall, experts have issued a set of recommendations to improve the safety of animal exhibits at the fair — while the future of a petting zoo at this year’s event remains uncertain. Earlier this week, the Cleveland County Fair Study Commission presented measures it said could help prevent the spread of zoonotic illness at this year’s fair, according to the Charlotte Observer. In September of 2012, the fair’s petting zoo was linked to 106 cases of E. coli O157:H7 infection, including 64 in children. One victim, a two-year-old boy, died as a result of his infection. In December, a panel of 17 officials began meeting to discuss recommendations for avoiding similar events in the future. Their suggestions, released Monday, include: – Hands-free paper towel and soap dispensers in restrooms – Posting more signs encouraging hand washing, including flashing signs near hand washing stations – Training employees in preventing the spread of pathogens – Including drainage pipes under animal exhibits to carry runoff away from the site An investigation into the 2012 outbreak concluded that, while the bacteria appears to have originated at the fair, it was carried to other areas by rain water runoff. Whether or not the fair will even include a petting zoo this year is up in the air, fair officials say, according to the Charlotte Observer. However, other animal exhibits will still be at the event, and the fair plans to implement the panel’s recommendations.