E. coli petting zoo link in Florida

A 12-year-old girl's death is being investigated for possible links to an outbreak of E. coli bacterial infections among people who attended one of two fairs in early March that included petting zoos, the Strawberry Festival in Plant City and the Central Florida Fair in Orlando.

Health officials declined to identify the girl, but it is reported she had also visited the Strawberry Festival.

Florida top health official Health Secretary John Agwunobi said there are 14 confirmed cases of people becoming ill and they have tested positive for either E. coli infection or a kidney disease that sometimes results from E. coli.

Officials suspect that contact with animals in petting zoos that were at both fairs was a possible source of the infection, but cannot at this stage confirm this as the definitive source.

Agwunobi says other possible sources include tainted food, or contact with other animals, animal waste or even hay fed to animals.

There are already 14 confirmed cases and state health officials are investigating seven others around the state, including one involving the death of a girl in Pasco County.State officials were awaiting a medical examiner's report on the girl.

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