BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) reminds people to take healthy precautions while enjoying summer activities and events such as fairs, festivals, carnivals and rodeos. Certain germs, like Campylobacter, E. coli and influenza, can be passed back and forth between humans and animals.
“Summer is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities and gatherings,” said Laura Cronquist, an epidemiologist with the NDDoH. “Reduce the spread of germs at summer events by taking simple precautions such as washing your hands with soap and clean, running water before and after being around animals and staying home when you are sick.”
- Always supervise children around animals.
- Wash your hands before and after petting or touching any animal or anything in the areas where animals are housed. You do not have to touch an animal to get sick. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid contact with any animal or viewing animals in enclosed spaces, such as barns, if you are sick or if the animal looks sick.
- Do not take toys, pacifiers, cups, baby bottles, strollers or similar items into animal viewing/petting areas.
- Do not eat or drink around animals and keep food and drinks away from animal areas.
- Do not let children sit or play on the ground in animal areas.
- Avoid bringing your pet. Consider leaving your pet at home and never leave pets in vehicles.
- NEVER touch an animal unless invited to do so by the animal’s owner.
- Always adhere to posted instructions, notices, and warnings when visiting animal viewing areas.
Anyone at risk for serious complications from infectious diseases like influenza or E. coli should consider avoiding contact with live animals and their environments at fairs or similar events. High-risk individuals include young children, pregnant women, people 65 years and older and those with long-term health conditions. People with respiratory conditions should consider avoiding enclosed spaces where livestock are present, such as barns and indoor arenas.
Anyone who becomes ill after contact with livestock or other animals should contact a health care provider and should tell them about the animal contact.
For more information about these topics, visit the NDDoH Disease Control & Forensic Pathology website at www.health.nd.gov/disease or call 701.328.2378.