Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a potentially fatal disease caused by E. coli O157:H7. The bacteria has caused a statewide outbreak of infection and disease, and all of the patients had attended the Central Florida Fair or the Florida Strawberry Festival.
The majority of the patients are Florida residents, although there was a potential case involving a patient in Wisconsin who had visited one of the fairs. Although the source of the E. coli is still under investigation, a petting zoo that was at both fairs is seen as a likely source.
There is currently 1 confirmed case of E. coli infection in Charlotte County, as well as one death possibly related to the bacteria in Pasco County. There are, in addition, four suspected cases in Charlotte County and one in Sarasota County, and the number of people statewise showing symptoms is currently 46, up from 37. Of the 46, 34 are children and 12 are adults.
Investigators are uncertain as to how many out-of-state visitors may have contracted the illness.