North Carolina state health officials have announced that they now consider this year’s state fair as the “probable” source of an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infection that now includes 26 people.  According to the Division of Health and Human Services press release:

Current patient interview information shows that 23 of the 26 persons involved in the investigation report having attended the State Fair. Public health investigators continue to consider the North Carolina State Fair as the probable exposure for the outbreak.

In 2004, over 100 attendees of the State Fair were sickened with E. coli O157:H7 in an outbreak linked to a petting zoo.  Most of those sickened in 2004 were children.  In this year’s outbreak 13 of the 26 ill persons are adults.  

Marler Clark attorneys represented 11 children who were victims of the 2004 outbreak in a lawsuit against the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  The case went to trial this August, and a ruling is pending.