Fairgrounds close after E. coli outbreak sickens nearly 100 - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Fairgrounds close after E. coli outbreak sickens 100

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CLEVELAND COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -

More than three weeks after an E. coli outbreak hit the Cleveland County Fair, the fairgrounds has shut down for other events.

According to the fairgrounds website, the grounds are "temporarily close[d to] all public events at the fairgrounds pending the completion of the current state and local health department investigations."

The statement says until "the exact source and DNA identity of the strain or strains of the current E-coli virus are determined" it was in the best interest of the general public to close the fairgrounds.

Last week, health officials told WBTV that 106 people had been sickened with possible E. coli.

On Tuesday, officials said that number had dropped to 100 as a result of laboratory evidence to narrow the criteria for cases included in the outbreak.

62 children and 38 adults are known to be/have been affected by this outbreak.  Twelve of them, including a toddler who died from the illness, have been hospitalized.

Two-year-old Gage Lefevers died ten days ago, on October 12th, after visiting the Cleveland County Fair.

"In the wake of this situation and as more cases are confirmed, the Cleveland County Fair is working diligently with all of our local and state health partners to investigate, locate and identify the source of this outbreak."

Preliminary findings suggest animal exposure may be the source of this outbreak.

This suspension will remain effective until more information is released from state and local health agencies and the NC Department of Agriculture.  

"In the meantime, the Fair will continue to work with all state and local heath partners in a joint effort to determine the proximate cause and source of this incident," the website stated.

Hog Happnin', the biggest event scheduled for the Cleveland County Fairgrounds for the remainder of the year, has found a new venue. 

The President of Hog Happnin' told WBTV they booked Shelby City Park on Monday afternoon.

They're expecting 6,000 people to show up to the event.

Officials say they decided to move their event before the Fairgrounds announced they were canceling all events, saying they didn't feel confident using the fairgrounds.

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