JUL 01, 2019 05:25 PM PDT

Kids Exposed to E. Coli at San Diego County Fair: One Toddler Dies from Infection

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

Last Saturday, the County of San Diego Communications Office reported four pediatric cases of E. coli linked to contact with animals at the San Diego County Fair. The impacted children visited the fair in Del Mar, California, between June 8 through June 15. Sadly, a two-year-old boy was hospitalized and died from complications related to the infection caused by the Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). The other three cases were not hospitalized and impacted children up to 13 years of age. 

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

According to the County’s statement, those with a STEC infection will begin to feel ill 3 to 4 days after ingesting food or drink contaminated with E. coli bacteria. Some experience symptoms within a one- to 10-day window. Symptoms of a STEC infection typically include severe stomach cramps, watery or bloody diarrhea (three or more episodes in 24 hours), and vomiting. A mild fever may or may not be present.

A New York Times article reported that the San Diego County Fair has more than 2,900 animals and animal-related activities including pig races and livestock shows featuring calves, rabbits, pigeons, and goats. Since the STEC infections were traced back to exposure at the fair, the animal areas were closed off to the public over the weekend, and the animals are being removed from the fairgrounds. The exact source of the E. coli transmission from animal to human has not yet been discovered. The fair’s information officer told the New York Times, “They don’t know whether it was in the livestock barn or the petting zoo. We have a number of different access points to animals.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also reported 209 E. coli infections from contaminated ground beef and issued a food safety alert on June 19, 2019. The fair food stands that the children utilized passed reinspection. 

To prevent E. coli infections from animals, the CDC recommends washing hands often, keeping food and drinks out of animal areas, and supervising children around animals.


Sources: County News Center, CDC, New York Times

About the Author
  • Enthusiastic science geek passionate about wildlife, wild places, and environmental issues. With 13 years of science writing under her belt, Tiffany hopes to educate and inspire the public to protect our planet.
You May Also Like
JUL 17, 2019
Cardiology
JUL 17, 2019
Workplace Wellness Programs Fall Short
Today, workplace wellness programs are offered by most large employers. They may be presented as part of an employee benefits package. These wellness progr...
JUL 17, 2019
Cardiology
JUL 17, 2019
Understanding Endocarditis
The endocardium is the inner lining of the heart chambers and valves. Endocarditis is an infection of this lining. If not treated quickly, endocarditis can...
JUL 17, 2019
Health & Medicine
JUL 17, 2019
The University of Maryland to Launch a Graduate Degree in Cannabis
The University of Maryland plans to be the first university in the United States to offer a Master of Science (MS) in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeu...
JUL 17, 2019
Microbiology
JUL 17, 2019
Engineering Bacteria to be Tumor Assassins
Some cutting-edge techniques are being combined to create powerful and innovative therapeutics....
JUL 17, 2019
Health & Medicine
JUL 17, 2019
Can Scientists Create a Blood Test to Screen for Alzheimer's Risk?
Currently, to gauge the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, patients must undergo brain scans, spinal fluid tests, or mental assessments; all of which can b...
JUL 17, 2019
Health & Medicine
JUL 17, 2019
Rare Bone Marrow Manifestation in Sarcoidosis
Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease with the hallmark diagnostic feature being non-caseating granulomas--clumps of immune cells including macr...
Loading Comments...