According to the county, one probable case and 10 confirmed cases of E. Coli possibly linked to contact with animals at the San Diego County Fair have been reported as of July 10.
The county's last update on June 28 said there was a total of four confirmed or probabale pediatric cases of Shiga toxin-poducing E. Coli (STEC) reported to the County Health and Human Services Agency.
Among those four cases was a 2-year-old boy, Jedidiah Cabezuela, who visited the fair on June 15 became sick on June 19 with confirmed STEC. Jedidiah was hospitalized and developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a severe complication of E.coli infection that can lead to kidney failure.
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The toddler died on June 24.
Three other children have also been hospitalized during the outbreak.
The county said the source of the E. Coli-causing bacteria is still under investigation, but said all of the affected children visited the animal areas, petting zoo, or had other animal contact at the fair.
Health officials told the fair to close all animal exhibits, including the petting zoo, to the public on June 28.
The county inspected food vendor stations visited by the children and found no link to the bacteria.
The San Diego County Fair wrapped up its 2019 run on July 4.
After probable cases were reported on July 5, Dean Sidelinger, M.D., MSEd, interim deputy County of San Diego public health officer, said more cases would likely be reported in the weeks to come.
“This isn’t unusual for a public health investigation. We have asked local doctors to be on the lookout for symptoms of STEC,” Sidelinger added in a press release.
According to the HHSA, most people with a STEC infection start feeling sick three to four days after eating or drinking something that contains the bacteria. It can take up to 10 days after being exposed to E. coli for symptoms to show.
Symptoms vary but often include severe abdominal cramps, watery or bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. Symptoms may come with or without a fever.
Most people recover within five to seven days and, while some infections are mild, others are severe or life-threatening.
HHSA officials said the best prevention against STEC is practicing good, consistent handwashing hygiene, and to always wash hands thoroughly after any contact with animals or their environments.
The 2019 San Diego County Fair ran for 27 days, from May 31 to the Fourth of July. The fair is the largest annual event in San Diego County, drawing approximately 1.5 million visitors each season.