Health and Disease Information



Foot and Mouth Disease Information

The Foot and Mouth Disease Task Force recommended that Monroe County provide the public with information about FMD and the preventive measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of an outbreak. Accordingly, we have surveyed the resources available and posted some of the most useful and informative links for your review.

The US Department of Agriculture and the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets websites are good sources of reliable, up-to-date information on how to prevent the spread of FMD and other animal borne diseases. We recommend you visit these sites to view the most recent postings from these organizations.

Helpful Online Information

Recommendations for Petting Zoo, Fair and Farm Visitors

Simple, common sense approach will reduce health risk

Based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the State is advising the availability of hand washing facilities at animal exhibits, discouraging hand-to-mouth activities, redesigning animal exhibits and taking heightened precautions for persons at higher risk of illness, such as young children and the elderly.

The CDC recently published a report of 56 illnesses and 19 hospitalizations in the states of Pennsylvania and Washington due to E. coli O157:H7, associated with school and family visits to farms where children came into contact with livestock. To reduce the risk of infection in New York State, visitors to petting zoos, fairs and similar settings should take simple steps such as washing their hands after touching animals or spending time in areas where animals are housed or exhibited. When possible, information should be provided before visits. The following recommendations will help to minimize potential illness:

  • Hand washing is the single most effective way to minimize the chance of acquiring an intestinal infection such as E. coli O157:H7. Within and next to areas of animal contact, running water, soap and disposable towels should be available.
  • In areas without running water, hand sanitizer gel packs may be used, although their efficacy has not been determined for these settings. Baby wipes are not an accepted sanitizing agent.
  • Hand washing is recommended not only for those having contact with the animals, but also for those in the area of or having contact with any part of the animal interaction area (such as walls, cages, bedding, glass partitions, etc.).
  • Hand-mouth activities such as eating, drinking, smoking and carrying toys and pacifiers should not be permitted in areas of animal contact.
  • Visitors should be made aware that certain farm animals pose greater risk for transmitting intestinal infections to humans than others. Such animals include calves, lambs and other young ruminants, young poultry, and ill animals.
  • Animal contact is not appropriate at food service establishments and infant care settings.
  • Effective separation methods should be used to prevent contact with animals other than in the interaction area.
  • Persons at high risk such as children less than five years of age, the elderly, pregnant women and immunocompromised persons should be especially careful to follow these recommendations.
  • Young children should be supervised by adults to ensure that they follow these recommendations when having contact with animals.

Rabid animal contact has also been a concern in New York State at fairs and petting zoos in recent years. In 1996, approximately 400 persons underwent treatment to prevent rabies after petting a rabid goat at a local fair. To help prevent similar incidents from happening again, please abide by the following guidelines:

  • All animals in contact areas should be vaccinated against rabies. Those animals that are not old enough to be vaccinated should not be included in the exhibit area.
  • Any adverse animal contact, such as bites and scratches from animals must be reported immediately to the local health department or the exhibit superintendent.
  • Any ill animals in the animal contact areas, particularly those with diarrhea or signs of encephalitis (stumbling, incoordination, paralysis) should be reported to the local health department and the exhibit superintendent.

Learn more about Recommendations for Petting Zoo, Fair and Farm Visitors.

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