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Home / Health / The two-year-old boy died because of E. Coli, who was associated with the San Diego County Fair

The two-year-old boy died because of E. Coli, who was associated with the San Diego County Fair



SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A 2-year-old boy died and three more children became ill E. Coli, who had come into contact with animals at the San Diego County Fair, told health officials on Friday.

Four cases of childhood infections ranging from 2 to 13 years have been confirmed, according to the County Health and Human Services Agency.

The children visited the Del Mar Fairgrounds June 8-15 and reported symptoms June 10 through June 16. Three of the four children were not hospitalized, according to health authorities.

The 2-year-old boy died of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) on June 24.

The source of E. coli bacteria is being investigated by the County Department of Environmental Health and Health and Human Services Epidemiology Program. District inspectors said the illnesses had no connection to food facilities the children had accessed.

All children visited the animal areas or the petting zoo or had other animal contacts at the fair, health officials from the district said. San Diego County Fair officials have blocked public access to all animal areas, including the petting zoo, in the stable on the east side of the Del Mar Fairground.

Fair CEO Tim Fennell and Deputy General Director Katie Mueller hold a press conference Late Friday night they were briefed on the children's illnesses and told Friday night that the boy had died.

People who suffer from STEC infections feel sick within 3 to 4 days of exposure to the bacteria, but the disease can start within 1

to 10 days of exposure, according to district health officials. Symptoms of E. coli include severe abdominal cramps, watery or bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. Symptoms can also occur with or without a fever. The district health authorities asked anyone who experienced symptoms on or after 8 June to contact their health care provider.

From 2010 to 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control, about 100 outbreaks have been reported in humans associated with animals in petting zoos, at fairs and on educational farms.

People who do not wash their hands or put food or drinks in an area with animals after caressing an animal increase the likelihood of becoming ill, CDC officials said.

The CDC has recommendations for the safety of children in the vicinity of animals:

  • Do not allow children in animal areas to sit or play on the floor.
  • Teach children not to place fingers or objects near the mouth of an animal.
  • Do not let children put their hands or fingers in their mouths when they are in an animal area.


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