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Keywords:

  • Campylobacter;
  • intervention;
  • petting zoo;
  • public health;
  • QMRA

The significance of petting zoos for transmission of Campylobacter to humans and the effect of interventions were estimated. A stochastic QMRA model simulating a child or adult visiting a Dutch petting zoo was built. The model describes the transmission of Campylobacter in animal feces from the various animal species, fences, and the playground to ingestion by visitors through touching these so-called carriers and subsequently touching their lips. Extensive field and laboratory research was done to fulfill data needs. Fecal contamination on all carriers was measured by swabbing in 10 petting zoos, using Escherichia coli as an indicator. Carrier-hand and hand-lip touching frequencies were estimated by, in total, 13 days of observations of visitors by two observers at two petting zoos. The transmission from carrier to hand and from hand to lip by touching was measured using preapplied cow feces to which E. coli WG5 was added as an indicator. Via a Beta-Poisson dose-response function, the number of Campylobacter cases for the whole of the Netherlands (16 million population) in a year was estimated at 187 and 52 for children and adults, respectively, so 239 in total. This is significantly lower than previous QMRA results on chicken fillet and drinking water consumption. Scenarios of 90% reduction of the contamination (meant to mimic cleaning) of all fences and just goat fences reduces the number of cases by 82% and 75%, respectively. The model can easily be adapted for other fecally transmitted pathogens.