Health officials look into illnesses that could be related to E. coli

by: Sarah Rosario Updated:

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GASTON COUNTY, N.C. —

State health officials have confirmed they're looking into four reported illnesses that they say could be related to E. coli. 

Eyewitness News spoke to the parents of a child in Gaston County who said their son got sick last week and is now in ICU.

The parents wouldn't speak to Eyewitness News on camera but said their 12-year-old son was admitted into ICU Monday morning. While doctors haven't confirmed where he got it from, his parents said it was from the Cleveland County Fair.

The parents told Eyewitness News they went to the fair last Sunday. They didn't want us to release their child's name but said he ate two corn dogs, and went to the petting zoo. At first, the parents thought their son had a stomach virus but then noticed his symptoms got worse as the week went on. On Friday, they took him to his pediatrician and that same day, he was admitted to Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte.

His father said doctors told him what made his son sick was not the livestock at the fair. 

Experts say you can get E. coli from human or animal feces, and also from raw or undercooked meat.

The state is now launching an investigation into three other cases in our area. They're looking at what the patients have in common -- what they ate, where they ate it and if they have been in contact with animals.

The state wouldn't give specifics about conditions of other patients, but the parents of the 12-year-old said they're not sure when he'll be well enough to go home.

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