NBC17 reports state health officials have determined that the source of the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak came from the Kelley Building at the North Carolina State Fair.
The Kelley Building is one of the permanent buildings where sheep, goats, and pigs were housed and competed in livestock show.
NBC-17 was the first to report a direct link to goats at the State Fair and the E. coli outbreak. A family of six in Sampson County who was diagnosed with E. coli reported they visited the goats while attending the State Fair.
The N.C. Division of Public Health says 27 individuals were identified as having contracted E. coli after attending the State Fair in October.
State Epidemiologist Megan Davies said the illness is likely related to animal contact, however the study did not implicate any specific animal or breed. Health officials say no other exhibits, foods or activities were linked to the E. coli infections.
In 2004, 108 cases of E. coli were reported, all linked to the petting zoo at the State Fair. After the 2004 outbreak, Fair officials installed handwashing stations with sinks, soap and water around the petting zoo and near animal exhibits.
A table of petting zoo related outbreaks is available at http://bites.ksu.edu/petting-zoos-outbreaks.