Manatee County may be adding their name to the list of Florida counties with victims of an E. coli outbreak due to petting zoos at central Florida fairs.
The Manatee County Health Department learned of one suspected case Thursday and two more Friday, spokesman John Burns said. A child and two adults suffered mild to severe or bloody diarrhea after visiting one of the events. He declined to release other details about the patients or their conditions, citing confidentiality laws.
The bacteria, known as E. coli 0157:H7, usually causes diarrhea and abdominal cramps that lasts for five to 10 days. In some cases, especially in children under age 5 and the elderly, it can destroy red blood cells and cause hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially fatal kidney condition.
Of the confirmed cases, Orange County has the most at 13, followed by six in Volusia County, state health officials said. There also have been two confirmed cases in Pasco County and one each in Charlotte, Collier and Seminole counties. The 40 suspected cases are spread over 16 counties, including six in Charlotte, four in Pinellas, three in Hillsborough, two in Hardee and one each in DeSoto and Sarasota. They are in 25 children and 15 adults.