E. coli has sickened eight people who came in contact with a day care center called The Learning Vine in Greenwood, South Carolina.
An investigation into the day care center began when 2-year-old Myles Mayfield fell ill due to an E. coli infection. He died from complications related to the bacterial infection after he developed hemolytic uremic syndrome as a result. The primary symptoms of E. coli are diarrhea, stomach cramps and vomiting.
South Carolina health officials, who are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration, initially believed Mayfield’s case was an isolated incident, but 11 days later a second case emerged. All of those who have fallen ill came in contact with the day care center, but it’s unclear if they were employees or children.
The day care has voluntarily closed down and didn’t have any health code violations for the last three years, but last week they were cited for issues with the restrooms, diaper changing, sanitation and food safety, according to the Department of Social Services’ website.
Officials from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said there’s no reason to suggest the greater community is at risk for developing an E. coli infection, but employees and children have been urged to get tested.
“We investigate every report of this kind of E. coli by conducting an interview,” epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell of the DHEC told The Washington Post. “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.”
It’s unknown what caused the outbreak, but the DHEC said it most likely spread through human waste rather than food.
The Learning Vine’s owner, Cindy Ray, issued a statement saying that they’re cooperating with health officials. “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, in addition to apologizing repeatedly.
Image via CDC