SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - County health officials said Friday that new probable E. coli cases involving two young children are believed to be linked to contact with animals at the San Diego County Fair.
The San Diego County health and Human Services Agency announced the following details on the two new probable cases:
-- 2-year-old who visited the fair and reported contact with animals on June 22, fell ill four days later, but was not hospitalized
-- 4-year-old who visited the fair and reported contact with animals on June 21, fell ill eight days later and remains in the hospital as of July 5
So far, there are four confirmed E. coli cases stemming from possible animal contact at the Fair; there are now three probable E. coli cases, health officials said.
One of the confirmed cases was 2-year-old Jedidiah Cabezuela, who died after visiting the fair and contracting E. coli, at which point the fair indefinitely closed its animal exhibits.
The other confirmed E. coli cases involve a 6-year-old boy, a 9-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl.
People can avoid contracting the bacteria by thoroughly washing their hands after making contact with animals at places like farms, petting zoos and fair exhibits. Young children, older adults and people with weak immune systems are at particular risk, according to health officials.
The HHSA and the California Department of Food and Agriculture have collected environmental samples at the fair in the past week to confirm the bacteria's origin. However, results of the collected samples are not expected until after the fair closes.
While most people who contract E. coli do not develop severe complications, roughly 5 to 10% of those who contract the bacteria can develop a potentially life-threatening kidney infection. Symptoms do not appear for three to four days after contraction and can include severe abdominal cramps, watery or bloody diarrhea and vomiting.
Residents should promptly call their doctor if they believe they have contracted E. coli, Wooten said, "especially if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than three days or diarrhea that is accompanied by a fever higher than 102 F, or blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and you pass very little urine."
City News Service contributed to this report