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County Fair Focus of E. coli Investigation in NC

Four confirmed cases of E. coli may be related to North Carolina’s Cleveland County Fair, which ended Sunday.

Parents of a 12-year-old Gaston County boy blame something the youngster ate or came in contact with at the county fair for his his E. coli infection. He is currently in intensive care.

North Carolina health officials say they do not know if they are looking at four individual cases of E. coli or an outbreak that may continue to grow.

Also infected are a 3-year-old boy, who attended the fair with a daycare group, and an 11-year-old boy who visited the event with his family. The two boys were treated locally and released from hospitals.

A fourth patient from Catawba County did not attend the fair.

Health investigators were roping off areas of the Cleveland County fairgrounds to collect soil and other samples to determine the cause of the E. coli illnesses.

Exposure to the pathogen, especially the dangerous E. coli O157:H7 strain, can cause serious illness and even death.

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