By Jory Lange
Petting zoo animals may be the source of an E. coli outbreak linked to the San Diego County Fair.
The County of San Diego Health and Human Services (HHSA) is urging anyone who visited the San Diego County Fair and then began experiencing symptoms of E. coli infection on or after June 8 to contact their healthcare provider⎯“especially if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days or diarrhea that is accompanied by a fever higher than 102°F, or blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and you pass very little urine.”
Four children were infected with E. coli after coming into contact with animals at the San Diego County Fair. One child died after developing E. coli complications.
The affected children ranged in age from 2 years to 13 years-old. They each came into contact with animals at the San Diego County Fair between June 8 and June 15. Their symptoms began between June 10 and June 16. The youngest child, a 2-year-old boy, was hospitalized with E coli complications. He succumbed to E. coli complications and died on June 24.
Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) is a serious complication of E coli infections. 5-10% of people diagnosed with Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) develop HUS. Children are particularly vulnerable to developing HUS.