Several Oklahoma families have been hospitalized with E. coli infections after attending the Oklahoma Youth Expo held from March 12-20 at the state fairgrounds in Oklahoma City. Reports stated that at least one eight-year-old was in intensive care, while others had been treated and released. The Oklahoma Department of Health confirmed the culprit as a Shiga toxin-producing type of E. coli, including O157:H7, and is now investigating to determine the source of the bacteria, said Lauri Smithee, Ph.D., head of the infectious disease department. “At this time we are not able to definitively say we have a contaminated this or that, or stall or barn or food vendor,” she said. “These particular organisms are really only found in the intestinal tract of ruminant animals, which are cows, sheep, goats and perhaps deer.” The department is also checking out the livestock and food trucks that were at the expo.

Anyone who has attended events on at the state fairgrounds since the Oklahoma Youth Expo is being advised not ignore any flu-like symptoms such as vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea.