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State adjusts number of E. coli cases investigated to 24

Posted October 29, 2011
Updated October 31, 2011

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— State health officials on Sunday adjusted numbers in an E. coli outbreak that has been unofficially linked to the North Carolina State Fair. Eight cases are confirmed E. coli infections and another 16 cases are still being investigated, according to the N.C. Division of Public Health.

On Friday, state health officials said that they had confirmed 10 people were sickened in the outbreak. That number was lowered to eight on Saturday and officials said the numbers were likely to fluctuate as the investigation into the outbreak continues and more information is gleaned from people during interviews.

All 24 sick people attended the recent North Carolina State Fair, which health officials said Friday is the "probable (source of) exposure for the outbreak."

Three young children remain in intensive care with kidney problems caused by the infection, and another child and an adult also have been hospitalized.

Wake County remains the center of the outbreak, with 11 of the 24 confirmed or suspected cases. Sampson County has seven cases, Wilson County has two cases, and Durham, Orange, Johnston and Cleveland counties have one case each.

E. coli is a potentially lethal form of food poisoning caused by bacteria found in animal feces, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. People can become ill after coming in contact with animal feces or infected food or water. It can also be spread from person to person.


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