The results came after a carefully conducted case-control study involving the 27 individuals identified as having contacted E. coli after attending the Fair in October, and another 87 individuals who attended the fair but did not get sick.
State Epidemiologist Megan Davies, MD, said the illness is likely related to animal contact, though the investigation did not implicate any specific animal or breed in the outbreak.
“We know that E. coli O157 is often found in the intestines of ruminant animals, which include cows, goats and sheep,” Dr. Davies said. “These bacteria are shed in the animal’s feces, so if it is on the animal itself or surfaces around the animal that someone touches, the bacteria can be transmitted to that person.”
Health and Agriculture officials say they are working to identify additional protective measures for fairgoers in the future.