Fairgoers urged to lather up.Byline: Tim Christie The Register-Guard
Among the sheep, cows, pigs and goats at next week's Lane County Fair The Lane County Fair is an annual celebration held in Eugene, Oregon every August featuring food, music and other entertainment. It is held at the Lane County Fairgrounds. , an unwanted visitor is sure to be lurking See lurk.
(messaging, jargon) lurking - The activity of one of the "silent majority" in a electronic forum such as Usenet; posting occasionally or not at all but reading the group's postings regularly. in the animal barns.
E. coli E. coli: see Escherichia coli.
in full Escherichia coli
Species of bacterium that inhabits the stomach and intestines. E. coli can be transmitted by water, milk, food, or flies and other insects. O157.
Where farm animals go, the virulent vir·u·lent
1. Extremely infectious, malignant, or poisonous. Used of a disease or toxin.
2. Capable of causing disease by breaking down protective mechanisms of the host. Used of a pathogen.
3. germ is sure to follow.
"I don't doubt whatsoever there's going to be E. coli here," said Warren Wong, the fair's managing director.
Fair officials have made changes to avoid a repeat of last summer, when 82 people fell ill after visiting the fair in the biggest E. coli outbreak in state history.
Signs with big black letters and blunt messages - "ANIMALS MAY CARRY BACTERIA OR GERMS GERMS Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service - PETTING ANIMALS IS DISCOURAGED" - now plaster the animal barns inside and out and additional sandwich boards will be posted outside the barns when the fair begins Tuesday.
Another more detailed sign warns: "Parents make sure children do not put their hands in their mouths; do not eat or drink while in the animal barns; WASH HANDS after leaving animal areas."
Fairgoers will find hand-washing stations outside all the animal barns along with more signs. They can even go through an interactive exhibit that tests hand-washing skills.
But there's no guarantee, short of banning animals, that someone else won't get sick this year. E. coli occurs naturally in many cud-chewing animals and can be contracted by people through contact with their feces feces
or excrement or stools
Solid bodily waste discharged from the colon through the anus during defecation. Normal feces are 75% water. The rest is about 30% dead bacteria, 30% indigestible food matter, 10–20% cholesterol and other fats, .
While public health investigators pinpointed the source of last year's E. coli infection - the sheep and goat exposition halls - they never figured out exactly how it was transmitted.
"We could not find any smoking gun," said Dr. William Keene William Keene (Birthname: William Joseph Keene d. August 4, 1915 in Pennsylvania - d. May 23, 1992 in Los Angeles, California) was an American television actor who appeared on several popular television shows more than one separate occasion as a different character. , the state epidemiologist who investigated the outbreak.
"The only thing we're sure of is the exposure was occurring in that complex of buildings," he said. "The rest of it was pretty murky."
Even hand-washing appears to have provided only limited protection against E. coli infection last year. Keene's investigation found that nearly one-third of people who got sick had washed their hands after leaving the animal barns.
Still, Keene said that doesn't undercut the importance of hand-washing as the best line of defense against getting sick from E. coli. The fair will have about 25 hand-washing stations outside exits to the animal barns - five times the number on the grounds last year.
Keene also noted that the risk remains quite low at the fair. Of roughly 50,000 people who went through the small animal expo hall Expo Hall is an indoor arena located at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida.
The arena was used by the National Hockey League's Tampa Bay Lightning during the team's first season in the league in 1992-1993. , only 82 got sick - though most of them were children, who are most vulnerable to getting severely ill from E. coli.
Food not allowed in barns
Along with all the new signs and hand-washing stations, fairgoers will have to get used to a new policy intended to protect their health: No food or drink in the animal barns.
In his investigation, Keene found live samples of E. coli in fan housings and two other locations in the barns that were 15 to 18 feet off the floor. That indicates that somehow the bug was floating in the air in the barns.
That means it's possible infected particles landed in people's food and drink, making them sick.
If fairgoers are seen chomping on nachos in an animal barn, exhibitors or fair staff members will advise them that food isn't allowed in the barns, but they won't confiscate To expropriate private property for public use without compensating the owner under the authority of the Police Power of the government. To seize property.
When property is confiscated it is transferred from private to public use, usually for reasons such as the food. "We're not going that far," Wong said.
Also new to the fair is Germ City, an interactive exhibit that teaches people to hone their hand-washing skills. They'll rub a little glob of glow-in-the-dark lotion lotion /lo·tion/ (lo´shun) a liquid suspension, solution, or emulsion for external application to the body.
1. on their hands, then wash their hands at a nearby hand-washing station. Then they walk through the Germ City tunnel, exposing their hands to black lights to see how many germs have survived the hand-washing.
The exhibit has proven popular at other fairs in Oregon and Washington, Wong said.
"Our goal is to use what happened last year and turn it into an educational moment," he said.
Fair officials considered testing exhibition animals for E. coli, but didn't see a practical way to do it because of the expense, the time it would take to test samples and because of the transitory TRANSITORY. That which lasts but a short time, as transitory facts that which may be laid in different places, as a transitory action. nature of the disease. An animal that tests clean on a Friday may have E. coli by the time it shows up for the fair on Tuesday.
Source of outbreak debated
Shirley Gardner has been showing goats at the Lane County Fair since 1971 and has been superintendent of dairy goats Dairy goats are personable, hardy, and a very rewarding animal. A female goat is called a Doe. A male goat is called a Buck. If the male goat is castrated it is called a wether. Goats milk is the most consumed milk in the world. for the past decade.
Last week, she and her 21-year-old granddaughter, Felicia, were at her farm seven miles west of Creswell, readying the 27 Nubian goats she'll enter in the fair.
Liberty, a yearling yearling
an animal in its second year of age, e.g. yearling cattle, yearling filly, yearling colt.
rinderpest in wildebeeste in the Serengheti. with the floppy ears and Roman nose that marks the Nubian breed, stood uneasily on an old wooden milking stanchion stanchion
a specially designed headgate to hold an animal in place while allowing feeding and resting. Most commonly used for cattle.
stanchion housing as she got her fur trimmed with electric clippers.
Gardner believes that goats got a bad rap and were unfairly blamed for the outbreak. She points to a U.S. Department of Agriculture study that tested nearly 3,000 samples of animal feces at state and county fairs in the Midwest and South.
The researchers found E. coli O157 in 13.8 percent of beef cattle, 5.9 percent of dairy cattle, 5.2 percent of sheep, 3.6 percent of pigs and 2.8 percent percent of goats.
She suspects that E. coli came from cows exhibited in the same barn during the 4-H Fair in the month before the county fair.
Keene said it's possible, but not likely the outbreak stemmed from cows at the 4-H fair.
"There's nothing implausible im·plau·si·ble
Difficult to believe; not plausible.
im·plausi·bil about (E. coli) being deposited in the building and it being there a month or two months later," he said. But the building is cleaned between events, he said, so "it's more plausible next time you have a big wad of animals there that that's when it was brought in."
Gardner has seen the signs posted at the fairgrounds n. pl. 1. same as fairground. , banning food and drink in the barns and advising people to wash their hands, but isn't sure they'll do much good.
"That's fine if people read them," she said, "but people don't read."
Signs ignored at June event June Events are alternatives to May Balls held by some Cambridge colleges.
The necessarily high price of May Ball tickets motivates some colleges to host Events instead.
That seemed to be a problem at the Black Sheep black sheep
1. A sheep with black fleece.
2. A member of a family or other group who is considered undesirable or disreputable. Gathering in June, the first major animal event at the fairgrounds since the outbreak.
Vendors and exhibitors "were remarkably compliant" with the policy banning food and drink in the barns, said Leslie Hildreth, coordinator of the annual event.
But it "created an extraordinary hardship for people sitting in vendor booths for nine or 10 hours a day and for people showing animals," she said. "They don't have the freedom to walk outside and open a bottle of water."
After hearing from Black Sheep organizers, the fair board agreed to change the no-food-or-drink policy to permit exhibitors to eat or drink in the barns. But they'll have to wear special badges to show they're exhibitors.
Members of the public, on the other hand, ignored the prominently posted signs banning food, Hildreth said, and were "throwing back a Pepsi or knocking back a burger" while wandering through the barns. "It was frustrating frus·trate
tr.v. frus·trat·ed, frus·trat·ing, frus·trates
a. To prevent from accomplishing a purpose or fulfilling a desire; thwart: ."
"It wasn't that there was a lack of effort," she said. "You couldn't move without tripping over Tripping Over is a British/Australian six-part drama series. Its first episode aired on Network Ten in Australia on October 25 2006, and in the United Kingdom on Five on October 30 2006. In the UK Tripping Over is repeated on Five Life. a sign ... but if people ignore them, what are you going to do?"
Wong said fairgoers must take some responsibility for protecting their own health. "I can only do so much," he said.
Attendance has been down at fairs this summer around the West, with weather and the lagging Lagging
Strategy used by a firm to stall payments, normally in response to exchange rate projections. economy to blame. But Wong wouldn't speculate if people, particularly families with young children, will stay away from this year's fair out of concern for E. coli.
Gardner said she wouldn't be surprised if attendance in the animal barns drops this year.
"They're going to be scared to come in, and they won't come in or they'll look in the door and leave," she said.
She offered a message for people having second thoughts about visiting the animals this year.
"Just come on in," she said, "and make sure you wash your hands as you leave."
IF YOU GO
The 2003 Lane County Fair starts Tuesday with the theme "Gotta got·ta
Contraction of got to: I gotta go home. Be There!"
What: Six days of exhibits, demonstrations, competitions, rides, food, family fun and entertainment
When: Tuesday through Sunday
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday; Kids Park is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
Where: Lane County Fairgrounds, 196 W. 13th Ave., Eugene
Daily admission: $8 general, $6 youths (ages 6 to 15), free for children age 5 or younger
Fair passes: $15 general, $12 for Bi-Mart cardholders (if purchased before Monday)
Information: Call 682-4292 or go to www.atthefair.com
To reduce the risk of getting sick at the Lane County Fair:
Wash your hands after visiting animal barns, before eating and after going to the bathroom.
Don't take food or drinks into the animal barns.
In the animal barns, parents should put away pacifiers and try to keep children's hands out of their mouths. Petting the animals is discouraged.
Brian Davies Brian Davies can stand for: