Petting animals at zoos, county fairs and farms could expose children to the dangerous E. coli bacteria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned.
The Atlanta-based CDC said E. coli outbreaks from farm visits last year in Washington and Pennsylvania sickened 56 people and led to 19 hospitalizations. The center said people became infected by touching animals and then putting their hands to their mouths.
E. coli, most often contracted through contaminated food or water, can be fatal.
The CDC called for better hand-washing facilities and bans on hand-to-mouth contact near animals.