by: Scott Wickersham Updated:CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. —
"Kids always put their hands in their mouth," said Kris Olive, who knows firsthand the dangers of E. coli after her daughter became infected as a child 10 years ago.
"It was really scary for us, she was in the hospital for like three weeks," said Olive.
The incubation period for E. coli infections can be up to 10 days and tomorrow marks 10 days since the Cleveland County Fair ended.
According to Dr. John Schietler, people who may be infected, but not yet showing symptoms, are very unlikely to pass it along to others.
Schietler says hand washing is the best defense and is especially important since the strain of E. coli is releasing a toxin inside those infected which makes the symptoms worse. The toxin can lead to hospitalization for weeks.
"Blood cells can break down and lead to kidney failure and potentially
multisystem organ failures," said Schietler.
Caromont Health said Gaston Memorial Hospital has treated three patients with E. coli related to the same outbreak.
Schietler said he is also seeing a stomach bug going around right now that is creating similar but less serious symptoms. Schietler said if you suffer from stomach cramps, high fever and bleeding then it could be E. coli, but when the body recovers, Schietler says there are no lasting effects.
Currently there are 46 probable cases of E. coli linked to the Cleveland County
Out of the current cases, 29 are children and 17 are adults.