5 E. Coli cases confirmed from the Georgia National Fair

The Georgia Department of Public Health is working to trace the source of E Coli cases.

PERRY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)– After 31 years of hosting the Georgia National Fair, Fairgrounds staff says they’re stunned to see an E. Coli outbreak.

“We’re praying that there are no more cases, and our hearts and thoughts sincerely go out to the families that have been affected,” said Maggie Lane, a marketing director for the Georgia National Fairgrounds.

Five children have been diagnosed with E. Coli connected to the fair. Georgia Department of Public Health says it’s trying to figure out the source of where the bacteria came from.

“Our epidemiologists immediately started looking through our syndromic surveillance, which is just a database that medical providers just dump information into, and you can query certain symptoms,” said Carle Coley, an Environmental Health Director with Georgia DPH. “Once they began to query those symptoms, within 30 minutes we were able to find other cases across the state.”

E. Coli is a type of bacteria that normally lives in your intestines. It’s also found in the stomach of some animals. This type of bacteria can be spread through animals, cross-contamination from foods, or lack of proper washing when it comes to hands, fruits, and vegetables.

The Fairgrounds say there are signs posted throughout livestock facilities, encouraging guests to wash their hands after touching or being around animals.

This year, the Fairgrounds took extra precautions against the COVID-19 virus, by adding more hand sanitizing stations throughout their facilities.

The Georgia Department of Public Health says these extra steps could have helped stop more E. Coli cases from spreading.

“There’s always been signs to wash your hands and people encouraging you to when you come out of those barns, but yeah I think COVID helped immensely,” Coley said.

Georgia DPH put out a survey Thursday and has received 800 responses so far. The investigation should only take a few weeks if it continues to get responses to their survey.

Even if you did not get sick after the fair, DPH is asking you to fill out their survey here: https://sendss.state.ga.us/sendss/!dynamicsurvey.surveypublicprompt?pQATemplateId=14259.

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