Re: “The farm comes to school,” Feb. 10. You’d think that the educators at St. George’s Preschool would be aware that petting zoos are hotbeds of E. coli bacteria, and that numerous children have been infected with the potentially deadly bug after contact with animals.
Infections can spread through direct animal contact or simply by touching the surroundings near an animal exhibit. Hand sanitizer does nothing to prevent spread of E. coli by inhalation, nor through indirect contact. E. coli has been linked to sippy cups, pacifiers and even chewing gum. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as many state departments of health, have issued public-health warnings about casual animal contact.
These displays are bad for animals, too. Forced to interact with a stream of excited and sometimes careless children, animals in petting zoos can become depressed and anxious.