PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With fair season in full swing, health officials in Oregon are warning people of the potential for E.coli contamination.
Several cases of STEC E.coli may be connected with livestock from the Washington County Fair. The exact source hasn’t been identified, but the Washington County Public Health Department is looking into livestock and food items unrelated to the fair.
Deputy Health Officer Christina Baumann told KOIN 6 News it’s important for kids and adults to be diligent about washing their hands while attending local fairs.
“We would really discourage people from eating or drinking when they are around animals just due to the potential of contaminating their food,” Baumann said.
STEC can cause severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, vomiting and fever.
“This type of infection is highly contagious, even when symptoms are mild,” Baumann said in a statement. “To prevent the spread of the disease, people with diarrhea should stay home while sick and avoid handling food or preparing food for others.”
Anyone who develops symptoms should contact their healthcare provider.
Outbreaks at county fairs are not uncommon, officials said.
If you’re going to a fair, keep these tips in mind:
- Do not put anything in your mouth in the animal areas, including food, beverage, pacifiers, toys or hands.
- Leave any unnecessary items outside the animal areas.
- Be aware that objects such as clothing, shoes and strollers can be contaminated with germs in the animal areas.
- Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands!
- Be sure to supervise children to make sure they are washing their hands well.