Officials: 11 days between diagnoses of day care E. coli

Jun 10, 2015, 9:38 AM

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina health officials thought they had just an isolated case of a dangerous strain of E. coli for 11 days until a second case emerged in an outbreak that would eventually cause eight people to become ill, including a 2-year-old boy who died.

Health investigators were almost immediately able to link the second case back to a Greenwood day care and urged testing of all employees and children at The Learning Vine, said state Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell of the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

South Carolina typically sees just a few isolated cases of the dangerous bacteria each year.

“We investigate every report of this kind of E. coli by conducting an interview,” Bell said Wednesday. “It’s a five- or six-page questionnaire about what all you’ve eaten since before you got sick and whether you’ve been somewhere like a state fair.”

The bacteria can cause vomiting and severe diarrhea.

Scientists may never know the origin of the bacteria, but it likely spread from person to person through human waste instead of through food, DHEC said.

The day care was inspected last week and cited for a dozen violations, including problems with restrooms, diaper changing, sanitation and food safety, according to the Department of Social Services’ website. The day care had no violations reported for the previous three years.

The outbreak appears to be isolated to only the day care center. No additional cases have been discovered since Monday, Bell said.

A laboratory reported the first case to the agency on May 18, and health officials immediately contacted the infected person. That person last reported symptoms May 11.

DHEC checked across the state and saw no other cases until May 29, when a child in Greenwood was diagnosed with a disease that damages red blood cells that clog the kidneys that can be caused by an E. coli infection. An investigator questioned people in the case and noted they both were linked to the Greenwood day care, Bell said.

Letters were then given to every child and employee at the day care, saying they couldn’t return until they were tested for E. coli, Bell said.

The Learning Vine remained open the rest of last week before the DHEC ordered it closed until it can assure the facility is cleaned to federal standards to kill the bacteria.

No one answered the phone Wednesday at the center. Its owner Cindy Ray issued a statement Monday saying she and her employees started working with health officials as soon as they heard about the illnesses.

“The Learning Vine has gone beyond what has been asked by DHEC as far as sanitizing the entire facility and notifying families,” Ray said in the statement.

The statement said Ray was heartbroken by the boy’s death, apologized several times and thanked parents for their thoughts and prayers.

___

Follow Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at http://twitter.com/

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Health

Dead fish lie on the banks of the German-Polish border river Oder in Lebus, eastern Germanny, Satur...
Associated Press

What killed tons of fish in European river? Mystery deepens

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Laboratory tests following a mass die-off of fish in the Oder River detected high levels of salinity but no mercury poisoning its waters, Poland’s environment minister said Saturday as the mystery continued as to what killed tons of fish in Central Europe. Anna Moskwa, the minister of climate and environment, said […]
1 day ago
Sima Samar, a prominent activist and physician, who has been fighting for women's rights in Afghani...
Associated Press

Afghan rights leader heartbroken after year of Taliban rule

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A year after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, prominent Afghan rights activist Sima Samar is still heartbroken over what happened to her country. Samar, a former minister of women’s affairs and the first chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, left Kabul in July 2021 for the United States on […]
1 day ago
FILE - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi speaks during a press conference in Bucharest, Roman...
Associated Press

Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in Cabinet reshuffle

CAIRO (AP) — President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt announced a Cabinet reshuffle Saturday to improve his administration’s performance as it faces towering economic challenges stemming largely from Russia’s war in Ukraine. The Cabinet shake-up, which was approved by parliament in an emergency session, affected 13 portfolios, including health, education, culture, local development and irrigation […]
1 day ago
FILE - President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. ...
Associated Press

Monkeypox? Climate? Deciding what’s a national emergency

WASHINGTON (AP) — In November 1979, a little over a week after student militants seized control of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took 52 American citizens hostage, President Jimmy Carter issued Executive Order 12170 declaring a national emergency against Iran. That order remains in effect today, renewed most recently in the weeks before last […]
1 day ago
Aslef, Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen members are pictured on a picket line...
Associated Press

Driver walkout halts trains as UK summer strike wave spreads

LONDON (AP) — Thousands of U.K. train drivers walked off the job Saturday in a strike over jobs, pay and conditions, scuppering services across much of the country. The action was the latest in a spreading series of strikes by British workers seeking substantial raises to offset soaring prices for food and fuel. The 24-hour […]
1 day ago
Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Liashko speaks to The Associated Press reporters during an intervi...
Associated Press

Ukrainian minister says Russia blocking access to medicines

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s health minister has accused Russian authorities of committing a crime against humanity by blocking access to affordable medicines in areas its forces have occupied since invading the country 5 1/2 months ago. In an interview with The Associated Press, Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Liashko said Russian authorities repeatedly have blocked […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
...
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Officials: 11 days between diagnoses of day care E. coli