Remember to wash your hands. This is the number one message a new resource offered by the South Dakota Department of Health offers to citizens after they come in contact with livestock.

You see, even though petting zoos and fairs give people of all ages the exciting opportunity to interact with, and learn about, animals; these interactions can also put people at risk of becoming ill from germs these animals might carry.

So, the South Dakota Department of Health has made a new resource available on their website: Preventing Illness Associated with Animal Contact.

On this webpage, South Dakotans can access information and resources to help them understand how to reduce health risks for themselves and their families.

To review this resource, visit http://doh.sd.gov/ and search by its title: Preventing Illness Associated with Animal Contact.

Even healthy animals can carry germs that could make people sick. For example, all animals and objects in their environments, such as fences, buckets, gates or their bedding, are potentially contaminated with pathogens such as Shiga-toxin producing E. coli, Salmonella, and Cryptosporidiosis.

The new website shows tips, downloadable posters, data, and resources that anyone can use.

In addition, a lot of great information on this subject was covered during a recent South Dakota One Health Seminar. To view the seminar presentation, Preventing Zoonotic Diseases During Farm Visits and Public Animal Settings, visit the South Dakota One Health website www.onehealthsd.org and click on the Meeting Archive link.

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