June 18, 2024

E. coli Outbreak From Cleveland County Fair In NC Grows

The E.coli outbreak associated with the attending the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina has sickened at least 13 people, according to state health authorities. Of the eight children and five adults who became ill, eight are from Cleveland County, four are from Gaston County and one person is from Lincoln County.

FairPublic health officials from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and health departments in Gaston, Cleveland and Lincoln counties are working together to investigate the E.coli outbreak among those who visited the fair between September 26 and October 7.

So far, they have determined that two of those sickened have confirmed  E. coli O157:H7 infections. One of them is a 12 year-old boy who has been hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a condition triggered by severe E.coli infection that causes kidney failure. He is undergoing dialysis treatments.

“We are working with county health departments, hospitals and physicians in the region to identify any additional cases related to this outbreak,” State Health Director Laura Gerald said in a statement. “We also caution the public to be aware of the symptoms of E. coli infection and to contact their doctor or local health department if they are experiencing symptoms or illness.”

Symptoms of an E. coli infection  include vomiting, severe stomach cramps, diarrhea which is often bloody. Sometimes there is also a low-grade fever.  The illness is acquired when bacteria from animal feces is ingested either by touching or petting an animal and then eating without first washing hands or by eating improperly cooked food. Those who are sick can pass it on to others. “In some cases in young children, this infection can lead to serious complications, so parents should not send sick children to day care or to school to avoid passing it on to others,” Gerald said.


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