4 cases of E.Coli were reported in children aged 2 to 13 who had visited the San Diego County Fair between June 8th and the 15th.
According to a County of San Diego Health and Human Services news release, a 2-year old boy was hospitalized and died on June 24th, from a complication of the disease.
The SDHHS confirmed the four cases were “linked to contact with animals” at the county fair.
While officials are still investigating the bacteria’s source, all the children who were sickened reported having contact with animals at the fair.
As a result, “San Diego County Fair officials have closed public access to all animal areas, including the petting zoo,” officials said in the release. Fair officials do not plan to close the fair at this time.
While most strains of E. coli are harmless, some are pathogenic and can cause illness, which typically includes stomach cramps and diarrhea, according to the CDC. The bacteria can be transmitted through contaminated water or food and sometimes through contact with other people and animals.
Though most people recover after several days, some E. coli infection cases can be life-threatening. This is especially true for pregnant women, newborns, older or elderly adults and those with weakened immune systems.
The CDC recommends thorough handwashing, washing fruits and vegetables, cooking meat thoroughly and avoiding cross-contamination in food preparation areas as ways to prevent E. coli illness.