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Minnesota State Fair sued for boy's E. coli

Note: The little lamb seen here giving a fist bump was photographed in 2018, and is therefore in no way responsible for illnesses contracted at this year's state fair.

Note: The little lamb seen here giving a fist bump was photographed in 2018, and is therefore in no way responsible for illnesses contracted at this year's state fair. Leila Navidi, Star Tribune

A family is suing the Minnesota State Fair over its boy's medical condition after he contracted E. coli at this year's fair. 

Minnesota Public Radio reports the 4-year-old boy "touched and petted several animals" in the fair's free (and wildly popular) Miracle of Birth Center. 

After "intestinal issues," the boy spent 10 days in hospitals, where he was diagnosed with both E. coli and hemolytic uremic syndrome, a complication of E. coli that affects blood vessels in the kidney. That organ and others were damaged as a result of the boy's illnesses, according to the lawsuit, and he may have other "long-term effects."

Hemolytic uremic syndrome can lead to blood clots in the kidneys, and is potentially fatal.

The boy was one of 11 people who reported contracting E. coli after attending this year's fair. Of those, eight had been at the Miracle of Birth Center barn, which features baby barnyard animals and the occasional live birth, several reported being "having contact with calves, goats, sheep, or piglets," according to a Minnesota Department of Health release.

E. coli is most commonly spread through fecal-oral transmission, and can still be passed from person to person—or animal to person—weeks or months after the initial symptoms are observed.

Six of those stricken with the intestinal bacteria wound up hospitalized.

The State Fair declined to comment to MPR about the lawsuit, though at the time of the outbreak issued a statement saying it might take steps—beyond existing signs and hand-washing stations—to make the 2020 fair safer.