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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — State health officials say the strain of E. coli bacteria that caused a fatal outbreak at the Cleveland County Fair is similar to the bug that sickened two dozen visitors to last year’s state fair.

Officials at the state Department of Health and Human Services said Monday that new lab evidence and interviews with more than 150 county fair visitors who didn’t get sick traced the outbreak to E. coli O157.

The research that’s honed in on the source of the outbreak led officials to reduce their count of those sickened to 60 children and 38 adults. Four were from South Carolina.

A 2-year-old died of complications from the bacterial illness. Officials said 12 individuals have been or are currently hospitalized.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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