Cleveland County Fair begins today, one year after E. coli outbr - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Cleveland County Fair begins today, one year after E. coli outbreak

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SHELBY, NC (WBTV) -

An event marred by an E. coli outbreak will get underway Thursday.

Two-year-old Gage Lafevers died and two other children were hospitalized after becoming infected by the bacteria in the petting zoo at last year's Cleveland County Fair.

In an effort to improve the sanitary conditions at the fair, organizers decided to eliminate petting zoos from this year's festivities. Attendees will be able to see the animals. They just won't be able to touch them.

Unlike the 2012 fair, people who attend this year will be able to use hand washing stations. Volunteers will reminding people to wash frequently.

Beth McNair is the mother of one child stricken by last year's outbreak. She says her son Jordan washed his hands five times while at the fair and still became ill. 

McNair thinks dumping the petting zoo isn't the way to go. She instead suggests more training for fair employees on improving health conditions.

Cleveland County health officials say fair volunteers are getting that training.

Organizers tell WBTV they are confident last year's events will not happen again.

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