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North Carolina State Fair

The Petting Zoo Problem

Last month, a toddler died from an E. coli infection acquired at a county fair. Petting zoos have caused dozens of outbreaks in the last decade, all while experts struggle to make them safer.

Katie Maness was 13 years old when her parents took her and two friends to the 2004 North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh. It was a beautiful October day, as her mother Becky recalls years later, and the three girls were excited to visit the petting zoo on their own. Inside the zoo exhibit, the… Continue Reading

61 Now Ill in North Carolina E. coli Outbreak

The deadly E. coli outbreak linked to the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina grew to 61 cases by Wednesday. At least 10 people have been hospitalized. This latest figures comes less than a week after 2-year-old Gage Lefever died from his infection last Friday. His funeral services were held on Wednesday afternoon. Food Safety News… Continue Reading

Publisher’s Platform: Time to Ban Petting Zoos Yet?


The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced the death of a child Saturday.  So far fourteen children and six adults who attended the Cleveland County Fair have gotten sick with the E. coli O157:H7 bacteria. I penned the following op-ed in January of this year. I am sure I have missed several other outbreaks… Continue Reading

State Fair Units All Suspect in North Carolina Outbreak

North Carolina’s E. coli outbreak — mostly connected to the state fair — continued to expand Tuesday. The North Carolina Division of Public Health said it is investigating nine confirmed and 18 suspected cases of E. coli O1257:H7 for a total of 27. That’s three more cases than the public health division reported earlier in… Continue Reading

23 of 26 E. Coli Cases Tied to North Carolina State Fair

North Carolina Division of Public Health authorities investigating an outbreak of E. coli say 23 of the 26 people sickened attended the state fair earlier this month, pointing to the fair as the probable source of exposure. In a news release, the health department said of the 26 cases reported so far, 13 are adults… Continue Reading