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Boy, 2, dies after E. coli infection linked to animals at San Diego County Fair

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DEL MAR, Calif. -- A 2-year-old boy died and three other children became ill following E. coli infections linked to animals at the San Diego County Fair, the County of San Diego announced Friday.

The boy was hospitalized and died on Monday from a complication of the disease, according to the county.

There were three additional confirmed pediatric cases of Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency reported. Those children were not hospitalized.

The source of the E. coli is under investigation, but all children reportedly visited the animal areas, the petting zoo or had other animal contact at the fair, according to the county. The children, who range in age from 2 to 13, visited the fair from June 8 to June 15 and had symptoms from June 10 to June 16.

“Our sympathies go out to the family of the child that died from this illness,” said Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer.  “While most people recover from this illness without complications, 5 to 10 percent of people diagnosed with STEC develop the life-threatening kidney infection.”

Fair officials have closed public access to all animal areas.

The County Department of Environmental Health inspected food facilities that were visited by the children and did not find a link to the cases.

The county health department advises the public to contact a healthcare provider if they experienced STEC infection symptoms on or after June 8.

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