North Carolina Public Health officials updated the number of E. coli illnesses possible linked to attendance at the North Carolina State Fair. Of the 21 cases, 8 are confirmed and 13 cases still being investigated. All cases either reside in or traveled to Wake County in the 10 days prior to becoming ill. Additionally, 4 of the cases are still hospitalized, and all are children.
According WFMY News 2, State Epidemiologist, Dr. Megan Davies has stated:
We are working with county health departments, hospitals and clinics across the state to identify any additional cases. Once a case is identified, disease investigators then work to determine whether the case is related to this outbreak and, if so, what common link there may be as to the source. Our focus at this time is to conduct a case control study and to genetically fingerprint this strain so as to determine cases that are related to the same source.
This is not the first that the North Carolina State Fair has been investigated as part of an E. coli outbreak. In 2004, over 106 cases of E. coli O157:H7 were linked to attendance at a petting zoo at the fair. In August of this year, attorneys at Marler Clark tried the liability portion of the case against the operators of the fair, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.