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

Check for small red bumps on your hands and arms after visiting the Fort Wayne Children’s zoo. That’s what Mei-Lin Smith says after she potentially contracted M. marinum when she put her hand in the stingray tank.

Dr. Jeffrey Sassmannshausen, with Three Rivers Dermatology, says M. marinum is a micro bacterial infection that is found in wet, moist areas.

Mei-Lin’s post continues that the zoo has been notified about her potential diagnosis.

 “The bacteria itself affects a few people where they get a skin infection.  We anticipate since the only water she, the guest, had been near was our Stingray Bay, it may have come from there,” says Bonnie Kemp, Director of Communications at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.

Bonnie says M. marinum can be found in almost all water. Dr. Sassmannshausen says the most common cases he sees are from the homes of patients.

“There’s no way you can even realize that you’re being exposed,” says Dr. Sassmannshausen.

He says M. marinum is often treated as a wart at first, and doesn’t give much discomfort, it just might be a little sore.

“Most common time I will see a M. marinum infection is someone cleaning their fish bowl,” Dr. Sassmannshausen explains.

The zoo says they will continue, as always, to encourage guests to wash their hands after touching any animal.

“Honestly, in this particular case, it very seldom affects children, mostly affects adults, even then mostly women. You either have to have a cut, or a break in your skin for it even to be a concern. If that’s the case, don’t put your hands in water,” says Bonnie.

Mei-Lin tells WANE 15 she didn’t see warning signs telling people not to put their hands in the water if they have open wounds, and believes it’s the zoo’s responsibility.

The zoo says up until this point, they haven’t been approached or thought about placing a sign telling people with open wounds not to touch the animals.

The zoo also says unfortunately, there is no way they can treat water for M. marinum without using chlorine, and they can’t obviously do that because of the animals in the water.