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A Local Mom in Indiana Claims she Might Have Been Exposed to a Common Bacteria in a Zoo

A Facebook post which was shared over 3,000 times features a local mom voicing concerns about the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.

Mei-Lin Smith urges the public to check for small red bumps on your hands and arms after visiting the Fort Wayne Children’s zoo. Smith says that she has potentially contracted M. Marinum when she had accidentally put her hand in the stingray tank.

Dr. Jeffrey Sassmannshausen, with Three Rivers Dermatology, explains that M. Marinum is a micro-bacterial infection that is found in wet and moist areas.

Bonnie Kemp, Director of Communications at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, said that the bacteria itself affects a few people giving them a skin infection.  The Zoo officials anticipate that since the only water Mei-Lin had been near was the Stingray Bay. Bonnie further added saying that M. Marinum can be found in almost all water.

Dr. Sassmannshausen says that there is no way anyone can even realize that they are being exposed. He claimed that the most common time he sees someone being infected with the bacteria is after they had cleaned their fishbowl. Kemp suggested that in this particular case, it rarely affects children, mostly affects adults, and mostly women. The symptoms are a cut, or a break in the skin for it even to be a concern. If that’s the case, Kemp suggests keeping away from the water.

Mei-Lin says that she didn’t see any warning signs telling people not to put their hands in the water if they have open wounds, and believes it to be the zoo’s responsibility.

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