On September 3, 1999, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) received reports of at least 10 children hospitalized with bloody diarrhea or Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection in counties near Albany, New York. All of the children had attended the Washington County Fair, which was held August 23-29, 1999; approximately 108,000 persons attended the fair during that week. Subsequently, fair attendees infected with Campylobacter jejuni also were identified. An ongoing investigation includes heightened case-finding efforts, epidemiologic and laboratory studies, and an environmental investigation of the Washington County fairgrounds. This report presents the preliminary findings implicating contaminated well water.
To identify additional fair attendees with diarrhea, the NYSDOH issued press releases, conducted daily press briefings, and contacted emergency departments, laboratories, and infection-control practitioners by fax and telephone. Laboratories were asked to culture all diarrheal stool specimens for E. coli O157:H7 and subsequently for Campylobacter spp.Continue Reading Public Health Dispatch: Outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Campylobacter Among Attendees of the Washington County Fair — New York, 1999