After much speculation about the source of the recent North Carolina E. coli outbreak, state officials have determined that the source was the Kelley Building at the N.C. State Fair.
The Kelley Building is a permanent structure where sheep, goats and pigs competed and were housed during the fair. No other exhibits or food were linked to the outbreak.
The N.C. Division of Public Health identified nearly 30 people as having contracted E. coli after attending the fair. State Epidemiologist Meghan Davies said the illness is likely related to animal contact. However, state officials have not identified any certain breed as the source of the outbreak.
The N.C. State Fair has been linked to E. coli outbreaks in previous years also. In 2004, 108 fair attendees contracted E. coli from the petting zoo. After the outbreak, a state law was enacted that required hand sanitation stations to be stationed throughout the fair.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of E. coli typically begin three to four days after exposure to the bacteria. Possible symptoms include diarrhea, nausea and abdominal cramping.