GASTON COUNTY, N.C. -- Saturday there were 20 confirmed cases of E. coli linked to the Cleveland County fair, including that of a 2-year-old Gaston County toddler who died Friday night.
Gaston County Health officials joined other health departments from across the state on a conference call Saturday afternoon as they worked with the state to get a handle on the outbreak.
There are nine cases in Cleveland County, five cases in both Gaston and Lincoln counties, and one case in York County.
Family members say 12-year-old Jordan McNair, a student at John Chavis Middle school in Cherryville, started to feel sick the day after going to the fair.
He spent a few days home from school and then went to the hospital where doctors first thought he had appendicitis.
He has now been at Levine Children’s Hospital for eight days. He’s sedated and on dialysis because his kidneys are failing.
Gaston County health Director, Christopher Dobbins said, “we were deeply saddened to learn there has been a death in our community in connection with the ongoing E. coli outbreak in the region. This tragic loss underscores the seriousness of this E. coli outbreak, and we want to remind the public that it is critically important to seek medical attention immediately if you have had diarrhea for longer than three days, or bloody diarrhea that began on or after October 1, 2012, and you attended the Cleveland County Fair this year.”
Dobbins also told reporters they are still working to figure out the source of the outbreak but can trace all 20 cases to the fair.
Dobbins said they also believe there are more unidentified cases. They expect to learn about more cases at least until next Wednesday. That’s the point 10 days from when the fair ended.
Of the 20 confirmed cases, 14 of them are children.