E. Coli Litigation

A resource for E. Coli Outbreak Legal Cases sponsored by Marler Clark

Daycare CentersView Outbreaks

E. coli outbreaks can occur at daycares

The transmission of E. coli O157:H7 and other pathogens in childcare facilities represents a serious threat to young children. E. coli is spread through fecal-oral contact, and the hand-to-mouth behavior of toddlers puts them at risk for E. coli infection; in addition, children in this age group have the highest risk of developing hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) secondary to E. coli infection. Therefore, effective environmental disinfection and handwashing policies, as well as exclusion of children with diarrheal illness, are essential for minimizing the risk of E. coli transmission in daycare settings.

In “Microbiological Analysis of Food Contact Surfaces in Child Care Centers,” Crosby, et al. state:

Food contact surfaces are a major concern for food service facilities in controlling the spread of food-borne pathogens. The physical environment of a child care center may influence factors such as hygiene and food preparation, both of which may in turn play roles in the transmission of infectious disease among children.*

Beyond food contact surfaces, though, other possibilities for E. coli contamination exist. Past E. coli outbreaks among children attending daycare centers have been traced to person-to-person transmission through poor worker hygiene, inadequate sanitation, cross-contamination, animals, food, and water.

In 2004, nine children attending the Kids Korner daycare facility in Joplin, Missouri, exhibited symptoms consistent with E. coli O157:H7 infection. Seven children were ultimately confirmed with E. coli O157:H7, and five developed HUS. Investigators from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) visited the daycare numerous times during the outbreak, and learned that the index case was a child who attended daycare while exhibiting symptoms of E. coli infection. A public health specialist from MDHSS inspected Kids Korner daycare, observing twenty-nine “non-compliances.” Many were deemed “operational in nature” or “probably not contributory to the outbreak,” but sixteen were considered “more likely to be linked to disease transmission.” Among the latter were problems with sanitation during and after diapering; the preparation of infant formula and the washing of formula bottles using water from handwashing sinks; the lack of restroom doors; and the diapering of one child in a hallway by the primary foodservice employee. See Kids Korner Daycare E. coli Lawsuit.

E. coli outbreaks can occur at daycares

The Tarrant County Public Health Department (TCPHD) Disease Control Section investigated an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak among children who attended the CCC Alternative Learning Program Daycare in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2002. At least 15 cases of E. coli were associated with the daycare, including 12 children, one staff member, and one parent of a daycare attendee. TCPHD reported many health and safety violations at the daycare facility. Among them was that children frequently ate portable lunches on the daycare grounds by a pond, which collected runoff from a nearby cattle pasture. TCPHD collected water samples from the pond, and confirmed a heavy concentration of E. coli O157:H7 in the pond. See CCC Alternative Learning Daycare E. coli Lawsuit.

In 2000, the Sacramento County Health Department and California Department of Social Services (CDSS) investigated an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak among children who attended the Lexington Drive Kindercare facility in Folsom, California. Public health officials investigating the outbreak determined that the probable “index case,” or child who unknowingly brought E. coli bacteria into the facility, was a young child who ate raw and undercooked hamburger days before experiencing explosive diarrhea while at the daycare facility. Four other children attending the daycare, the mother of one child, and the sibling of another child all contracted E. coli during the outbreak. According to the Facility Evaluation Report by CDSS, “[t]he cause of the [E. coli O157:H7] outbreak [at the Lexington Drive Kindercare] was due to a sponge being used simultaneously for wiping down a changing table and wiping down a table used for serving meals.” See Kindercare E. coli Outbreak Case.

* Catherine M. Cosby,1† C. A. Costello,2 W. C. Morris,1 B. Haughton,3 M. J. Devereaux,4 F. Harte,1 and P. M. Davidson1. “Microbiological Analysis of Food Contact Surfaces in Child Care Centers.” Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008 November; 74(22): 6918-6922. Published online 2008 September 26. Doi: 10.1128/AEM.00547-08.

  • CCC Alternative Learning Daycare E. coli Lawsuit

    Marler Clark represented the family of a small child who became ill with an E. coli O157:H7 infection while attending CCC Alternative Learning Daycare in Forth Worth, Texas, in June of 2002.  The E. coli lawyers settled her claim after filing an E. coli lawsuit against the daycare.

  • Kids Korner Daycare E. coli Lawsuit

    Marler Clark’s E. coli attorneys represented two young children who became ill with E. coli O157:H7 while attending a Joplin, Missouri, day care center in 2004.  The law firm resolved the children’s E. coli cases in 2006.

  • Kindercare E. coli Outbreak Case

    The Marler Clark E. coli lawyers represented a young child who became ill with an E. coli infection while attending a Folsom, California, Kindercare daycare in a claim against the facility.  The lawyers resolved the E. coli claim in 2001.