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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — State health officials say animal contact is a likely source of an E. coli outbreak linked to the Cleveland County Fair.

A statement from the NC Department of Health and Human Services on Friday said 64 children and 42 adults have been affected by this outbreak. A 2-year-old died of complications from the bacterial illness.

Officials said 12 individuals have been or are currently hospitalized.

State Health Director Laura Gerald said while progress is being made in an investigation into the outbreak, a specific cause hasn’t been determined.

Public health officials expect the number of cases associated directly with the fair will soon stop growing, but it is possible that secondary cases, or those passed from person to person, may appear for several more weeks.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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