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20 sickened by E. coli in N.C.; Toddler dies

CHARLOTTE, N.C. North Carolina health officials say a child has died from an E. coli infection contracted at the Cleveland County Fair.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced the death Saturday. Fourteen children and six adults who attended the fair have gotten sick with the bacteria.

Sources told CBS Affiliate WBTV that a toddler from Gaston County died at Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte while being treated for E. coli. State officials confirmed it was the first death in the state related to an outbreak among those who attended the Cleveland County fair.

A source close to the family confirmed to WBTV that Gage Lefevers died while being treated for suspected E. coli.

Family members of other E. coli victims told WBTV that they are all gathered in support at the hospital tonight.

According to state health officials, investigators are working with local health departments in Gaston, Cleveland and Lincoln Counties to investigate the outbreak. There is also one reported case in York County, S.C.

The people sickened all attended the Cleveland County Fair between September 26 and October 7.

Health officials continue to investigate to determine the source of this E. Coli outbreak. The bacteria are found in the waste of animals, and people who touch contaminated material such as food or animals can transfer the bacteria to their mouths or to other people.

Cleveland County Fair director Calvin Hastings said the fair tried to prevent E. coli problems by adding hand-washing stations and moving food vendors farther away from animals.

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