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Appendix A

Information and Instructions for Venue Operators and Staff About Animals in Public Settings

Venue operators should know about risks for disease and injury, maintain a safe environment, and inform staff and visitors about appropriate disease and injury-prevention measures. This handout provides basic information and instructions for venue operators and staff. Reading this handout does not substitute for reading the entire compendium.

Operators and staff must know about risks, for example:

  • Disease and injury have occurred following contact with animals in public settings.
  • Healthy animals can carry organisms that make visitors sick.
  • Visitors can become infected with organisms when they touch animals or their droppings or enter the animal's environment and do not wash their hands.
  • Some visitors are at increased risk for developing serious or life-threatening illnesses, especially young children (i.e., aged <5 years), older adults, pregnant women, persons who are mentally impaired, and persons with weakened immune systems.

Operators and staff must maintain a safe environment:

  • Design the venue with safety in mind by having designated animal areas, nonanimal areas, and transition areas as described in the Compendium of Measures to Prevent Disease Associated with Animals in Public Settings, 2007.
  • Do not permit animals, except service animals, in nonanimal areas. Provide hand-washing facilities where food and beverages are prepared, served, or consumed.
  • Assign trained staff to monitor animal contact areas. Exclude food and beverages, toys, pacifiers, spill-proof cups, and baby bottles and prohibit smoking. Keep the animal areas clean and disinfected to the extent possible and limit visitor contact with manure and animal bedding. Allow feeding of animals only if contact with animals can be controlled (e.g., over a barrier). Do not use animal areas for public (nonanimal) activities.
  • Design transition areas for entering and exiting animal areas with appropriate signs or other forms of notification regarding risks for and location of hand-washing facilities. Maintain hand-washing stations that are accessible to children and require hand washing upon exiting animal areas.
  • Ensure that animals are appropriately cared for.
  • Prohibit consumption of unpasteurized products (e.g., milk products and juices).
  • Provide potable water for animals to consume.

Operators and staff must educate visitors, for example:

  • Provide simple instructions in multiple formats that are age- and language-appropriate.
  • Warn visitors about the risks for disease and injury.
  • Notify visitors that eating and drinking or placing things in their mouths should not occur after leaving the animal area until after their hands are washed.
  • Advise visitors to closely supervise children and to be aware that objects such as clothing, shoes, and stroller wheels can become soiled and serve as a source of germs after leaving an animal area.
  • Direct visitors to wash their hands and assist children with hand washing following contact with animals or visiting an animal area.
  • Make visitors aware that young children, older adults, pregnant women, persons who are mentally impaired or immunocompromised are at increased risk for illness.

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Date last reviewed: 6/20/2007


Safer, Healthier People

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
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