Officials have confirmed the recent E. coli outbreak did take place at the North Carolina State Fair. Investigators zeroed in on the building with the issues--the Kelley Building, a permanent structure that housed livestock for the fair.
“From the beginning of this investigation, we have been focused on finding answers about why these illnesses occurred,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Using the information gathered by our Public Health partners, we can begin to assess whether additional safeguards can be put in place. Our goal is to put on the safest fair we can.”
Officials believe the illness is related to animal contact, but they have not linked the E. coli outbreak to any one animal at the fair.
Health officials say they conducted a study with 27 people who contracted E. coli after going to the fair and 87 people who went to the fair but did not get sick.
The illnesses caused serious issues for some who contracted it. At least five people were hospitalized and three people suffered kidney failure because of the illness. At least two victims were from Eastern Carolina, in Wilson County.
This is the second time in the last decade that people contracted E. coli from the State Fair. In 2004, more than 100 people got the illness after visiting the petting zoo.