The number of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina has jumped to 81, up from the 61 cases reported yesterday. One patient, a two-year-old boy from Gaston County, died last week as a result his illness. At least 52 children and 29 adults are now known to be part of the outbreak connected to the county fair, which took place September 27 through October 7. Patients can take up to 10 days to exhibit symptoms after exposure to E. coli bacteria, so the number of new cases is likely to taper off now that that window has passed. “Now that we have passed 10/17, we do not anticipate many new cases associated with the initial exposure,” said the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services in a press release Thursday. “However, there is still the possibility of secondary cases (person to person transmission) for several weeks,” noted the agency. Symptoms of E. coli infection include nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea (which can sometimes be bloody) and occasionally fever. Those who think they may have contracted an E. coli infection should contact their healthcare provider. The number of cases by county is as follows. Cleveland County – 48 Gaston County – 11 Lincoln County – 13 Catawba County – 1 Mecklenburg – 1 Union County – 2 Rutherford – 2 York County, South Carolina – 2 Cherokee County, South Carolina – 1