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An outbreak of E. coli infection, which has already resulted in three children having to undergo dialysis for kidney failure, is being traced back to the North Carolina State Fair. The fair ran from October 13 to October 23 in Raleigh, and was visited by more than a million people.

So far, ten cases of E. coli have been confirmed and 16 more are under investigation, with the first illnesses having been reported around October 15. Half of these 26 cases are children. Once people began showing E. coli symptoms, the NC State Fair rapidly became a suspect because of a 2005 E. coli outbreak that was traced back to a petting zoo at the fair. E. coli is present in the feces of cows, sheep, goats and other animals, and can contaminate food and liquids it comes into contact with. E. coli outbreaks are often traced back to ground beef or unpasteurized milk.

Officials warn that if the fair was indeed the origin of the E. coli, the incubation period is still ongoing and more people could become sick over the next few days. If you or anyone you know begin to experience symptoms such as abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, please seek help from a health care professional immediately.

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