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Toddler dies, three other kids infected with E. coli after visiting petting zoo at county fair: Reports

Officials in California say four children between the ages of 2 and 13 contracted E. coli after coming into contact with animals at a petting zoo. A 2-year-old boy has since died as a result.

While an ongoing investigation will seek to determine the source or sources, initial reports indicate all of the infected patients visited the exhibit at the San Diego County Fair, as reported by ABC News.

In a press conference on Friday, the fair’s general manager expressed grief over the news of the boy’s death just hours earlier.

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“I want to say our hearts, our prayers, our thoughts go out to the family and the friends of this young child,” said Tim Fennell. “We’re devastated. It appears that these folks attended the fair between June 8 and June 15 and were involved with contact, possible, with a livestock animal at the petting zoo.”

He went on to stress that the contamination has nothing “to do with food service or food at all.”

As CBS News reported, the fair is slated to remain open, but access to areas containing animals have been closed to the public as efforts to sanitize those buildings are underway.

Katie Mueller, assistant general manager of the San Diego County Fair, said that safety “will continue to be our No. 1 priority here at the fair going forward,” encouraging visitors to “come out to the fair and see all that we have to offer.”

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[Featured image: Max Pixel]