2 more probable E. coli cases linked to San Diego County Fair

DEL MAR, Calif. -- The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency said Friday it had identified two more probable cases of E. coli linked to the San Diego County Fair.

The news brought the number of confirmed E. coli cases to four and probable cases to three as of Friday afternoon.

“The investigation is ongoing, and even though the fair is over, there are likely more cases that will be reported,” said Dean Sidelinger, M.D., MSEd, interim deputy County public health officer. “This isn’t unusual for a public health investigation. We have asked local doctors to be on the lookout for symptoms of STEC.”

One of the children who most recently exhibited symptoms common among those battling E. coli is a 2-year-old who visited the fair on June 22 and became sick four days later. Another 4-year-old child began exhibiting symptoms on June 29 after visiting the fair on June 21. The 4-year-old was hospitalized with no additional details about their condition immediately available,

All of the probable and confirmed E. coli cases that have been reported in connection with the San Diego County Fair involved children who visited animals during their trips to the fair.

Officials for the San Diego County Fair said they've been working around the clock to understand and prevent the spread of E. coli after they were alerted to the illnesses. "We found out around 7 p.m. on Friday night from public health about these E. coli cases," said Annie Pierce, public information officer at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. "We immediately shut down all public access to any animal on site."

Since the petting zoos were shut down several days ago, fair officials don't expect many more cases to be reported but said they were being vigilant in the event that additional cases arise. Health officials were continuing to try to isolate where specifically the E. coli came from.

"Safety is our very top priority here, and so we are going to be focusing on anything and everything that we can do to from this point forward to make sure people are safe when they come to interact with animals at the fair," Pierce said.

Of the four confirmed E. coli cases that have been reported, one child -- 2-year-old Jedidiah King Cabezuela -- has died. The last confirmed case of E. coli was reported on Tuesday after a 6-year-old began experiencing symptoms after visiting the fair on June 22.

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