Health officials investigating Washington Co. Fair as possible s - KPTV - FOX 12

Health officials investigating Washington Co. Fair as possible source of E. coli

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HILLSBORO, OR (KPTV) -

Health officials are investigating contact with livestock at the Washington County Fair as the possible source of E. coli.

Washington County Public Health has received reports of several cases of diarrheal illness caused by E. coli.

A source has not been positively identified at this point, but health officials said they are investigating the fair, as well as food items unrelated to the fair.

The fair took place in Hillsboro from July 27-30.

Anyone who attended the fair and has had or develops severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting or fever should contact their health care provider. Some infections are mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening.

"This type of infection is highly contagious even when symptoms are mild," says Deputy Health Officer Dr. Christina Baumann. "To prevent the spread of disease, people with diarrhea should stay home while sick and avoid handling food or preparing food for others."

Young children are at the highest risk for a potentially life-threatening complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Signs that a person is developing the syndrome include decreased urination, feeling very tired and losing pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids. If it occurs, it is often after the earlier symptoms of diarrhea have improved.

Health officials said outbreaks at fairs are not uncommon. People are advised not to put anything in their mouth in the animal areas, including food, beverages, pacifiers, toys or hands.

Clothing, shoes and strollers can be contaminated with germs in the animal areas, as well.

The best way to avoid an infection is to wash hands well with soap and water. For more information, go to cdc.gov/ecoli.

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