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      NC fair E. coli outbreak has SC State Fair patrons on guard

      COLUMBIA (WACH) - An E. coli outbreak at a fair in North Carolina has South Carolina State Fair goers on guard when it comes to what they eat while participating in the fun fall activity.

      A toddler has died and dozens of people are sick after an E. coli outbreak at the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina.

      The 2012 South Carolina State Fair is in its second week and fair food is usually one of the most popular attractions. This year, however, people are concerned.

      "I wouldn't want to be sick, or have my daughter get sick; that's kind of scary," said fair patron Christina Cobb.

      South Carolina State Fair Manager Gary Goodman says proper education and precautions that include washing hands, especially after touching the animals, is key to preventing a similar incident in the Palmetto State.

      "It's a matter of education of the visitor and trying to make sure they know they need to wash their hands in these areas," said Goodman.

      Jim Beasley with the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) says, "The rules and regulations that cover the temporary vendors at the fair are very much the same as any kind of a fixed establishment like a neighborhood restaurant."

      DHEC says there has been no report of issues with contamination at this year's state fair or other fairs across the state.

      Those attending the fair in Columbia are still keeping a watchful eye on where they choose to eat.

      "We'll definitely keep an eye out and make sure facilities are clean. I'm sure the SC State Fair is doing a good job to make sure that happens to," said fair patron Catherine Caldwell.