Pumpkin Patch Safety Concerns After E. Coli Scare At Petting Zoo - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Pumpkin Patch Safety Concerns After E. Coli Scare At Petting Zoo

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If you are thinking like everyone else you picked this weekend to bring your family to the pumpkin patch, but after three cases of E. coli were reported yesterday in Dayton Minnesota linked with a petting zoo. You might be wondering, what are the risks? We went to a local pumpkin patch to find out.

It's the "picture perfect" family adventure.

Mike Halvorson- Buffalo River Pumpkin Patch Owner: "there's always a safety risk." But, when it comes to petting zoos. Halvorson: "animals are creatures." It's best to play it safe. Halvorson:  "children not attended by their parents, we have to make sure all the children are attended by their parents." And to stick together. Halvorson:  "you never know when a children will put a finger too close to their mouth, you have a chance of that being bit."

Mike Halvorson has owned buffalo river pumpkin patch in Glyndon Minnesota for ten years, and he's never had any run-ins with E. coli. Halvorson:  "we're a USDA certified petting zoo out here, so we're inspected once a year for the USDA." Experts say perfectly healthy animals can carry e-coli... So you can never be too careful. Halvorson:  "which is a good thing, when you have public around animals they should be held to a certain structure."  But E. Coli cases are reported every year. Halvorson:  "We take it seriously, as you can see, we put hand sanitizer on the only entrance to the petting zoo, to make sure everyone has every opportunity to put hand sanitizer on."

And even if you have used hand sanitizer while you are at the pumpkin patch, you won't want to miss the most important part. Experts say hand sanitizer can help, but it can't replace washing your hands with soap and hot water. No petting zoo can really be picture perfect.  There's always a risk, so remember to take every precaution.

Experts  say most varieties of E. Coli are harmless,  or cause brief symptoms, but a few nasty strains can be life threatening. Symptoms of E. Coli typically include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea. If you suspect you have been exposed to E. Coli, visit your doctor right away.

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