Officials: E. coli strain identified as similar to strain from state fair last year

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CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. - The strain of E. coli linked to the Cleveland County fair has been identified, and officials said it is similar to the strain that made people sick at the North Carolina State Fair last year.

It is also the same strain that has caused several food recalls over the past four years.

Two more cases have been reported in children.

Channel 9 was there when one of the children, Hannah Roberts, who had been sick left the hospital earlier this week.

The E. coli cases linked to a local outbreak have been narrowed down to 98, state health officials said on Monday.

The number had been 106, but it decreased because of laboratory evidence to narrow the criteria for cases included in the outbreak, officials said.

The 98 people who are or have been affected attended the Cleveland County Fair. Officials said preliminary findings suggest animal exposure may be the source of the outbreak.

On Monday, fair operators announced they are shutting down the Cleveland County fairgrounds until the state determines what caused the E. coli outbreak.

For more information about E. coli, click here.