CCC Alternative Learning Program Daycare E. coli Outbreak
In June of 2002, the Tarrant County Public Health Department Disease Control Section was notified of the hospitalization of a 2-year old child with a diagnosis of hemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS, a complication of an E. coli O157:H7 infection. Over the following days, the Tarrant County Public Health Department (TCPHD) was notified of several additional cases of E. coli O157:H7 infections, which included five positive stool cultures. All of the identified cases were associated with the CCC Alternative Learning Program Daycare in Fort Worth, Texas.
In the end, the TCPHD identified 15 cases of E. coli O157:H7 associated with the daycare, including 12 children, one daycare staff member and one parent of a daycare attendee. TCPDH conducted an investigation into the source of the infections. TCPDH reported that the investigation identified “several breaches in food preparation and procedures at the daycare facility.”
TCPDH reported that “many parents report food being prepared and served (at the daycare), which was prior to city permitting.” TCPDH also stated that appropriate sources of drinking water were not available in the building housing the smaller children. Staff reported to TCPDH that water jugs were filled using the bathroom sink. TCPDH stated that a swimming pool at the facility was reported in use with murky water prior to chlorination and without permitting for use by the city.
Perhaps most importantly, staff, parents and children reported the frequent practice of having portable lunches out on the daycare grounds by a pond, which collected pasture run off of nearby grazing cattle. TCPDH reported that several water samples of pond water confirmed a heavy concentration of E. coli O157:H7.
The City of Fort Worth Consumer Health Division cited the facility for multiple violations.
Marler Clark represented the family of a little girl who became ill with E. coli and HUS in litigation against the daycare facility.