Mother of son hospitalized with E. coli speaks out

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CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. - The mother of a 12-year-old who was hospitalized from complications of E. coli said she thinks more needs to be done to prevent outbreaks.

Jordan McNair was released from Levine Children's Hospital last week, after being in the hospital for almost a month.

State health investigators said the petting zoo at the Cleveland County fair was the source.

Jordan's mom Beth McNair said she thinks there needs to be more training, and permanent hand washing stations installed near petting zoos.

"Well, it's been very difficult,” she said. “I mean just, one day you're going along with your daily lives, then all of the sudden you run into this brick wall, and it stops your life.”

Health officials are appointing a task force to find out how the virus spread to people who never went to the petting zoo.

E. coli is a big concern for anyone attending petting zoos or other events involving animals. Zootastic Park in Troutman is getting ready for its annual light show.

One of the big draws is the petting zoo and the two white tiger cubs that people can hold.

Zoo officials said what's most important to do after touching those animals.

“E. coli always worries me,” said owner Scottie Brown. “What’s most important is for people to know that you got to wash your hands. It’s not about the animals, it’s about people too.”

Brown said his zoo has hand washing stations all around the facility. The light show starts Friday.