Many people are excited to visit zoos; even kids like to go there. These artificial animal colony has always fascinated people. But a new study shows petting zoos can be harmful, as they give birth to a pool of bacteria which are resistant to many drugs. Even more, the highly deadly pathogens can trap visitors. According to the new study, these current fascinations flourished with infectious bacteria can enter into the body of animal-loving kids. The study bestowed in the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Disease (ECCMID), point towards the risk of getting infected by antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Though interacting with animals can be healthy for children, but there remains a risk in it.
The study suggests animals at petting zoos could pose and potentially spread dangerous bacteria. It also includes harmful pathogens like E. Coli which may result in foodborne illness and infections in the urinary tract. Scientists from Ariel University, Israel, including veterinaries conducted the study to explore the risks involved in petting zoos. They gathered samples from around 200 animals across 42 species from a country’s petting zoo. The examples mainly included skin, feathers, fur, poop of the creatures. After that, the scientists looked for the drug-resistant bacteria. They often used genetic sequencing to determine bacteria like extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) Enterobacteriaceae and AmpC-producing Enterobacteriaceae (AmpC-E).
As per researchers, these two bacteria are resistant to many regularly used antibiotics. Scientists reveal it as a matter of concern, as some mutations can easily travel from one species to another through DNA. Even more, these harmful bacteria first develop in animals and then proceed to infect human. These types of epidemics generally take place in petting zoos because visitors hold, and cuddle those animals. Thus, Shiri Navon-Venezia, the leading scientist of the study, says there is a risk posed by these animals. Navon-Venezia noted that animals in petting zoos could result in shedding and spreading of MDR pathogens. It may cause illness for human visitors. Thus the team suggests to carry out a strict hygiene and infection control policy to decrease the risk of transmission between animals and visitors.