Health News

Toddler Dies From E. Coli After Visiting County Fair Petting Zoo, Sickens Another

Child with eyes covered.

Tragedy struck the Oxford County Fair this September, when two young visitors contracted an E. coli infection. One toddler, 20-month-old Colton Guay, passed away on Monday from the deadly strain.

According to Fox News, the E. coli bacteria was found in the County Fair petting zoo; state health commission officials cannot yet confirm that the petting zoo was indeed the source of the strain, but as both infected children visited the same zoo shortly before showing symptoms, it does seem likely.

That being said, it is worth noting that Guay’s parents did claim that their son never actually touched one of the petting zoo animals. Still, E. coli bacteria can be transmitted through touching contaminated food or water as well, so the fact that both children were inside the petting zoo suggests that they might have picked up the bacteria without necessarily having to touch an infected animal directly. Though this fact is a small comfort for the families affected, this breakout does appear to be fairly isolated to the two already known cases rather than another superbug.

The Maine branch of the Center for Disease Control reports that an investigation is now underway. While the families of both infected children attempt to heal, the CDC encourages everyone to educate themselves on risk zones and symptoms of this kind of dangerous bacteria. E. coli, found in the intestines of people and animals, often leads to more mild infections that go away by themselves in under a week.

But when vulnerable individuals like young children or the elderly are infected, the bacteria can be cause for immediate hospitalization.

While there is no surefire way to protect against bacteria, the CDC suggests avoiding cross-contamination by keeping raw meats separate, washing tools and dishware with hot, soapy water, and keeping your hands clean.

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