David Sinclair of The Pilot reports that North Carolina public health investigators have identified a petting zoo from Chatham County as the source of an E. coli outbreak that sickened 108 people who attended the State Fair in October.
Investigators with the N.C. Division of Public Health announced Thursday that Crossroads Farm Petting Zoo was the source of the majority of E. coli cases during the fair. They used extensive environmental testing and genetic fingerprinting to link many of the cases to the Crossroads Farm Petting Zoo.
A Moore County girl, 13-year-old Katie Maness, was among 43 confirmed cases of E. coli. She became seriously ill when she developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a complication that occurs in high-risk people such as children and can cause kidney failure, seizures and, in some cases, death.
Katie and two of her friends attended the State Fair on Oct. 22, and they visited a petting zoo. The other two girls did not get sick.
Several days later, after she became ill, her parents took her to FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital. When she was diagnosed with the hemolytic uremic syndrome, doctors transferred her to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill for treatment. She came close to requiring kidney dialysis, according to her mother, Becky Maness.