February 27, 2024

Red River Valley Fairgoer Stricken With E. coli HUS

Three children who attended the Red River Valley Fair in West Fargo, North Dakota have E. coli infections. One of them has been hospitalized with a life-threatening complication, hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

State Fair FariswheelAbout 15 percent of children with E. coli infections develop HUS, which causes kidney failure. Children with HUS often experience problems with their central nervous systems such as seizure and stroke.

North Dakota health officials have not yet determined the source of the bacteria at the fair held July 7-12, 2015. Some possibilities include undercooked ground beef or other meats, contaminated produce or sprouts and contact with animals at petting zoos or other animal exhibits. All three children did report having contact with animals, but health officials are looking at all possible sources.

E. coli bacteria live in the intestines of humans and other animals and are shed in their feces.  Parents should limit their children’s contact with animals such as cows and goats for exactly this reason. And always make sure your child washes his hands before eating.

A fair official told WDAZ that there hasn’t been a petting zoo at the fair for three years. Also, barns are sprayed down after cattle or horse shows and food vendors are not allowed near the animal exhibits.


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