The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has updated their investigation into the E. coli outbreak associated with The Learning Vine daycare in Greenwood County. As of June 8, 2015, there are eight confirmed cases of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli. The announcement states, “at this time, no other facility is included as part of this ongoing investigation.”
Last week, officials announced that two-year-old Myles Mayfield died of complications from an E. coli infection. While no announcement has linked the toddler’s death to the daycare center, this is the only known E. coli outbreak in that state at this time. Daycare facilities in Greenwood, Laurens, and Abbeville Counties are being kept informed about the investigation and the outbreak.
Noted attorney Fred Pritzker, who has represented many families whose children have been sickened by this bacteria, said, “these children may spend weeks and months in the hospital. With every case, there is a risk of future kidney disease. It is terrible that such devastation can be caused by contaminated food or drink or cross-contamination.”
DHEC continues to collect and test samples for lab analysis, provide information to people affected by this outbreak and the investigation, and operates a hotline to provide assistance to people affected, and to those with questions. That hotline is 800-868-0404.
Testing for STEC in people who have had diarrhea is a multistep process to isolate the bacteria from feces. If bacteria are found, they must be grown to get a sample to test for specific strains. The entire process may take up to a week. Four of the samples have been tested to date; all have a matching pattern.
The daycare will reopen after the facility follows all recommendations issued by DHEC. All students and staff must be tested for STEC bacteria and have at least one negative stool sample before they can return. Ill persons or those who have direct contact with confirmed cases must have two negative stool samples before they can return to the daycare facility.
If your child attended that daycare facility and has been experiencing the symptoms of an E. coli infection, which include abdominal cramps, diarrhea that is usually watery and/or bloody, mild fever, and nausea, see a doctor immediately. Improper treatment of an E. coli infection can increase the chances the child will develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure and death.
Image courtesy CDC Public Health Image Library