Residents of 8 North Carolina counties became ill with E. coli infections during the fair. As of November 9, 2011, the E. coli case-count included cases from Wake (13), Sampson (6), Cleveland (1), Durham (2), Johnston (1), Lenoir (1), Orange (2), and Wilson (2) counties. At least 5 people - 4 children and 1 adult - were hospitalized due to the severity of their E. coli infections.
Approximately 10 percent of children infected with E. coli require hospitalization for hemolytic uremic syndrome, a complication of E. coli infection that can lead to kidney failure.
Prior E. coli Outbreaks
In 2004, the Crossroads Farm Petting Zoo was the source of an E. coli outbreak among attendees of the N.C. State Fair. Contact with animals and hand-to-mouth activity were the source of the 2004 E. coli outbreak.
In 2002, an E. coli outbreak at the Lane County Fair in Oregon was thought to have been caused by E. coli in dust and on surfaces.