According to press reports, another child has been hospitalized following exposure to E. coli after students from Sullivan and Washington counties visited an animal exhibit in September.

Dr. David Kirschke, director of the Northeast Regional Health Office, provided a statement Wednesday, saying the total number of children hospitalized after the E. coli illnesses began has reached eight. On Friday, the health office had reported seven children had been hospitalized.

As of Wednesday, Kirschke said eight children have been hospitalized and four are seriously ill with complications.

The illnesses began after elementary school trips to the Appalachian Fairgrounds on Sept. 26 and 27, according to the health office. Cases of children exposed to Siga-toxin-producing E. coli were reported to health officials in the following days and weeks.