By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

Escherichia coli
Image/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

In a follow-up on the Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) outbreak that may be related to contact with animals at the San Diego County Fair, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) reports that as of Wednesday, 10 confirmed cases and one probable case have been reported in this outbreak. Three people were hospitalized and one child has died.

Health officials say the source of the E. coli bacteria is under investigation, but all children were reported to have visited the animal areas, the petting zoo, or had other animal contact at the San Diego Fair.

The fair has since ended on July 4.  County Environmental Health also re-inspected food facilities visited by the children and found no link to the cases.

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Frequent, proper handwashing is key to preventing infection with STEC. Always wash your hands thoroughly after contact with animals or their environments (at farms, petting zoos, fairs, even your own backyard). Everyone, especially young children, older individuals, and people with weakened immune systems, should wash their hands before eating or drinking. Thorough handwashing means using plenty of soap, warm water, and scrubbing all surfaces of the hands (including between the fingers), for at least 20 seconds.