106 people affected by local E. coli outbreak

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CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. —

The local E. coli outbreak has affected more than 100 people, public health officials said on Friday.

The number of known cases grew from 81 on Thursday to 106 on Friday. Officials with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said 64 children and 42 adults were affected by the outbreak. Twelve people have been or are currently hospitalized, including one child who died from complications related to E. coli.

Officials said animal contact is a likely source of the E. coli outbreak at the Cleveland County Fair.

"While we are making progress in our investigation, we have not yet determined a specific cause," State Health Director Laura Gerald said.  "We may not be able to pinpoint a single source, but hope to have more conclusive results within a month. Our goal throughout this investigation is to identify how to prevent similar outbreaks and deaths in the future."

The majority of the cases are in Cleveland County, where 61 people were affected. Cases have also been reported in Catawba, Gaston, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rutherford and Union counties in North Carolina, and York and Cherokee counties in South Carolina.

Officials said the incubation period, or the time it takes for a person who has been exposed to become ill, has passed, but the numbers may continue to increase for several days as people seek medical attention and reports are sent in.

For more information about E. coli, click here.