State investigators are still working to uncover the specific source of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak comprising 30 illnesses that appears linked to the 2011 North Carolina State Fair. 7 years prior, an even larger outbreak, over 100 sick, was tied to a petting zoo at the 2004 Fair. Marler Clark client, Jennifer Chauvin, watched her two boys fall ill in the 2004 outbreak. She recently spoke about the trauma their family endured:
“We couldn’t imagine a night out at the fair would turn something so horrific.” Speaking of her son Cameron she said, “he started to become unrecognizable to us due to all the fluid backed up.”
Luke Chauvin was hospitalized 10 days, but Cameron’s bout with the complication hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, was more protracted.
“Luke turned the corner after two blood transfusions,” explained his mother. “For Cameron every day it was, how is he going to do; what are we going to look at tomorrow?” Cameron required weeks of kidney dialysis.
Jennifer spoke to the families long term concerns:
“We could never be guaranteed long term how this was going to affect our children, so because of that we had to protect them in case one needed a kidney transplant or developed another problem,’’ she explained. “That’s why we filed a lawsuit; to protect them later.”
For more information about the risks of petting zoos, see Fair Safety Dot Com.
In 2006 there were three E. coli cases linked to the State Fair. Officials believe it to be tied to a pita stand. In 2004, 108 cases of E. coli were reported, all linked to the petting zoo at the State Fair.