PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Zoo today announced that it has reopened its Children's Zoo and African farmyard to the public after re-tests of the petting animals in these areas showed negative results for E. coli 0157:H7.
The zoo had voluntarily closed these two exhibits last Friday after receiving notification from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health that two children tested positive for E. coli 0157:H7. Although the extensive precautions the zoo takes to ensure the health of its animals made it unlikely that the zoo was the source of the infection, both children had visited the zoo before becoming ill. Both children have since recovered fully.
"We're pleased to welcome our guests back to the Children's Zoo and African farmyard," said zoo Chief Operating Officer Joseph Moore. "Our animal-care professionals are extraordinarily diligent in the measures they take to ensure the safety of our visitors and the health of our animals. And, as always, we'll continue to take these precautions to ensure families continue to safely enjoy our wonderful animals and beautiful gardens."
The zoo and the health department each conducted separate tests on fecal samples from the petting animals in the Children's Zoo and African farmyard. All tests showed negative results for E. coli 0157:H7.
The Philadelphia Zoo has in place rigorous standards to ensure children and grownups can safely enjoy the Children's Zoo and African farmyard. All new zoo animals are quarantined upon arrival for at least 30 days, all mammals are tested for E. coli 0157:H7 during quarantine, and all animals in public- contact areas are tested twice a year for E. coli 0157:H7. None of these tests has ever been positive for E. coli 0157:H7. The zoo has hand-washing stations, signs directing visitors to wash their hands after petting animals, and staff supervision in areas where visitors come into contact with animals.
The Philadelphia area experiences cases of E. coli 0157:H7 every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control's website, an estimated 73,000 cases of E. coli 0157:H7 infection occur in the United States each year.
Source: Philadelphia Zoo