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2-year-old ‘angel’ dies after catching E. coli from San Diego County Fair animals

Screengrab from GoFundMe

His family called him Jedi.

Jedidiah King Cabezuela, 2, died Monday after contracting E. coli from animals at the San Diego County Fair, KNSD reported.

“I said a little prayer and told the Lord ‘You got your hands full,’ ” said Edward Sanford, Jedi’s great-uncle, who called the boy “a little angel” who “lit up the room,” according to the station.

Three other children who visited the fair also contracted E. coli, possibly from livestock or petting zoo animals, county officials said in a release posted to Twitter.

The fair on Saturday closed all animal exhibits to the public as a precautionary measure, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“We have taken this step to restrict access to animals at the fair in an abundance of caution,” said Dr. Eric McDonald, medical director of the county public health department’s epidemiology and immunization services branch, according to the publication.

“We may find, as the investigation develops, as we develop genetic fingerprints of these organisms, that these cases are not related, that these just happened to be cases that occurred during the summer when it’s more common for these types of cases to occur,” McDonald said, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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Jedi visited the fair June 15 with his family, the county health office reported on Twitter. The other infected children visited between June 8 and June 15.

The other children, who recovered without hospital care, are ages 9 to 13, KGTV reported.

Jedi died from a complication of the E. coli infection called hemolytic uremic syndrome while in the hospital, KNSD reported.

A GoFundMe account opened by his family to cover expenses describes him as an “energetic, smiley, loving , silly 2 year old precious boy.” The page had almost reached its $20,000 goal by Sunday morning.

Escherichia coli bacteria are found in food, the environment and the intestines of humans and other animals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Most are harmless to people, but some E. coli bacteria can cause diarrhea and other illnesses.

Symptoms include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and a low fever, the CDC says. Proper hygiene, including washing your hands, can help prevent infections.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.
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