As of Friday, October 26, 2012, the case count in the E. coli outbreak linked to the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina has grown to include 104 people. Sixty-three children and forty-one adults have been affected in this outbreak. Thirteen people have been or are currently hospitalized. One child has died.
The case counts are as follows: Cleveland County (61), Gaston County (14, including 1 death), Lincoln County (14), Catawba County (2), Union County (2), Rutherford (6), York County South Carolina (2), and Cherokee County South Carolina (3). The three new cases are in Cleveland County and Cherokee County, South Carolina. The notice states, “preliminary findings suggest animal exposure may be the source of the outbreak.”
Attorney Ryan Osterholm, who has filed lawsuits on behalf of clients in similar cases, said, “animals on farms and in petting zoos can carry E. coli bacteria while appearing perfectly healthy. It’s the responsibility of the venue owners to make sure hand washing stations are prominently displayed, and signs warn of the possible danger of pathogenic bacteria.”
An E. coli infection can lead to complications including hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can destroy the kidneys. If you or anyone you know has experienced symptoms of E. coli food poisoning, which include diarrhea, which may be bloody, severe stomach and abdominal cramps, vomiting, and a mild fever, see your doctor immediately. If you visited the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina, tell your doctor.