Tuesday, October 09, 2001

E. coli concern ends festival

No corn husking in Upper Sandusky

The Associated Press

        UPPER SANDUSKY, Ohio — Organizers have canceled a festival that traditionally brings in up to 5,000 people because of concerns about a recent E. coli outbreak.

        The Ohio Hand Corn Husking Festival is one of the largest annual events at the Wyandot County Fairgrounds. It had been scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in Upper Sandusky, a north-central Ohio city of about 6,500 people.

        Organizers decided to cancel this year's festival because health officials had not pinpointed the source of an E. coli outbreak at the county fair last month, Jeff Ritchey, the county's director of environmental health, said Monday. At least 20 people were infected.

        The E. coli infection generally causes diarrhea, stomach cramps, fatigue and nausea. Kidney failure is among the most serious complications. Younger children, adults with other health problems and older adults are most at risk for complications.

        The infection can develop from consuming contaminated food or water or from petting an infected animal. Inadequate hand washing can spread it.

        Festival spokeswoman Pat Riedel said organizers considered moving the festival but could not find a site close enough to the cornfields they use in the husking competitions.


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- E. coli concern ends festival