Zoonoses in petting zoos

Source: Schweizer Archiv Tierheilkunde
In thirty Swiss petting zoos a study was performed with the objective to determine the prevalence of zoonotic agents. Also the hygiene measures implemented to reduce the risk of human infection were described. Fecal samples from different animal species were collected from the floor of pens to determine the prevalence of ...
Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp., verocytotoxin producing E. coli/VTEC and Francisella tularensis. A questionnaire in hygiene measurements, number of animals per species, housing system, care procedures and feeding was administered to every petting zoo to estimate exposure of visitors to zoonotic microorganisms. In total 423 fecal samples were examined. 41 samples were found positive for C. jejuni and C. coli. Two samples were positive for Salmonella spp.
The low prevalence of zoonotic microorganisms in Swiss petting zoos could be attributed to the cleanness of enclosures and animals, low stocking rates and good animal care. However, there is room for improvement concerning visitors’ information on hygiene and hand washing. Furthermore, a strict separation between picnic-areas and animals should be enforced.

Zoonoses in petting zoos: Prevalence estimate and evaluation of hygiene measurements

Bütikofer, B, Bissig-Choisat, B, Regula, G, Corboz, L, Wittwer, M, Danuser, J, Schweizer Archiv Tierheilkunde, 2005 vol 147, nr 12