A mother is suing the Minnesota State Fair after her son allegedly contracted an E. coli infection and developed permanent kidney damage from touching livestock.
According to a lawsuit filed last week, Christina Vonderhaar said that, on August 29, she brought her son, then four, to the State Fair, where he pet several animals.
Within two days, he fell ill and was eventually hospitalized for about two weeks, reported The St Paul Press.
Doctors determined that Vonderhaar's son, now five, had an E. coli infection and had subsequently developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is linked to this particular strain, O157:H7.
In September, the state's Department of Health announced it was investigating 11 cases of E. coli infections, including seven hospitalizations.
Health officials later deduced that the outbreak was linked to petting animals at the State Fair's Miracle of Birth Center.
Christina Vonderhaar took her son, then four, to visit the Minnesota State Fair on August 29, where he pet several animals (pictured)
He fell sick with bloody diarrhea on August 31 and was later hospitalized at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis for two weeks. Pictured: The petting zoo area at the State Fair, courtesy of Fox9
'We believe that this E. coli outbreak could have been prevented,' Tariq Miller, one of the attorneys who is representing Vonderhaar, told The Pioneer Press.
'It's disheartening to see young children continue to suffer when the dangers associated with petting zoos are well known.
'The CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health have published recommendations on how these risks can be minimized. Had the Fair followed these recommendations, this outbreak would not have occurred.'
The Press reports that, according to the lawsuit, Vonderhaar's son fell ill on August 31 and he was taken to the emergency room on September 3.