21 E. coli cases linked to fair, health officials say

by: Tina Terry Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - State health officials said Sunday the number of suspected E. coli cases had risen again. 

North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services said there were a total of 21 cases. That was one more since Saturday. 

Ten of those cases were from Cleveland County, five from Gaston County, five from Lincoln County and one from York County, S.C. Fourteen of the cases were children.

Officials linked the 21 cases to the Cleveland County Fair, but were still working with local health departments to interview people who were sickened and determine the source of the outbreak.

Gage Lefevers, 2, from Gaston County, died from symptoms.  Family members told Eyewitness News they were devastated and looking for answers.

"They're suffering terribly, because they went to a night at the fair and took their children there feeling everything was gonna be safe," said family member Joan Grigg.

She and others gathered at Trinity Church in Kings Mountain to pray for the toddler's parents.

Grigg said the family was struggling with several financial debts after Gage's hospitalization.

 Family and friends planned to set up a fund to help the Lefevers' family pay for medical expenses Monday.