E. Coli Litigation

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

WaterView Outbreaks

Water can be a source of E. coli outbreaks.

Water sources can become contaminated with E. coli and other pathogens in a variety of ways. Water that is downstream from cattle pastures, feed lots, or barns can easily become contaminated with E. coli from runoff. When lakes become contaminated, several weeks or months can pass before water quality conditions improve or return to normal. When municipal water sources become contaminated, systems must be flushed to ensure all bacteria has been eliminated from the system, and chlorine levels high enough to kill any E. coli must be introduced.

Pools can become contaminated with E. coli by animal feces or through fecal contamination from an infected person. Children who are not yet toilet trained and soil diapers while playing in water have been identified as the source of several outbreaks. Proper chlorine levels must be maintained to prevent the spread of E. coli in pools and at water parks.

In 2002, several children attending a Texas daycare center became ill with E. coli infections. Perhaps the most important finding during the Tarrant County Health Department (TCPHD) investigation was that staff, parents and children reported frequently eating portable lunches on the daycare grounds by a pond. The pond collected run-off from a pasture that held grazing cattle. TCPHD reported that several samples of pond water confirmed a heavy concentration of E. coli O157:H7. See CCC Alternative Learning Daycare E. coli Lawsuit.

Walkerton, a city in Ontario, Canada, experienced what is likely the largest waterborne E. coli O157:H7 and Campylobacter jejuni outbreak in history in 2000. 2,300 people became ill with E. coli and/or Campylobacter infection; 65 were hospitalized, 27 developed HUS, and seven died. The outbreak resulted when the Walkerton municipal water system became contaminated with runoff from several cattle pastures near a shallow water supply well after several days of heavy rain. The Walkerton water supply was not properly chlorinated or managed, and the water system managers later pleaded guilty to criminal charges for their part in the outbreak.

An E. coli O157:H7 outbreak among attendees of the Washington County Fair in Washington County, New York, in 1999 is believed to be the largest E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in United States history. At least 781 people were identified with suspected E. coli or Campylobacter jejuni infections during the outbreak. Of those cases, 127 were culture-confirmed with E. coli O157:H7. Seventy-one individuals were hospitalized, 14 with HUS; two people died. The environmental and site investigation indicated that unchlorinated water from a well serving the southwestern portion of the fairgrounds was contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, and the epidemiological investigation concluded that a significant relationship was associated with the consumption of beverages purchased from vendors supplied with water from the unchlorinated well.

In 1998, an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak was traced to an infected toddler who played in a pool at the White Water Water Park outside Atlanta, Georgia. Although the pool was chlorinated, the chlorine concentration and contact time was presumably insufficient to kill the E. coli resulting from fecal contamination by the toddler, and other children who were in the pool ingested E. coli bacteria while playing in the pool. Twenty-six culture-confirmed E. coli cases were identified during the outbreak, and 40 percent of children under five years of age with recognized E. coli infections were diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). See White Water Water Park E. coli Lawsuits

  • White Water Water Park E. coli Lawsuits

    The Marler Clark E. coli law firm represented children who became ill with E. coli and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) after playing in pools at the White Water Park outside of Atlanta, Georgia.  The E. coli outbreak is suspected to have been caused by low levels of chlorine and soiled diapers.