More than 100 attendees at the Cleveland County Fair fell ill in October after an E. coli outbreak possibly related to contaminated food. According to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), a dozen of those who were affected by the outbreak required hospitalization, and a two-year-old boy has died from the effects of the harmful bacteria.

Public health officials noted that it could take another month to pinpoint the precise cause of the outbreak, and investigators are interviewing infected individuals.

The state health director expressed caution about the possibility of secondary infections, noting that person-to-person transmission of E. coli is preventable by washing hands and disinfecting kitchen surfaces.

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