White Water Park E. coli OutbreakIn June of 1998 the Georgia Department of Health investigated an E. coli outbreak among children hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome, other children, and their siblings.
After having eliminated other possible sources of exposure, such as contaminated food, health officials determined that contact with and ingestion of pool water while playing at White Water Park was the source of E. coli in most of the primary cases.
Overall, 26 culture-confirmed E. coli cases were identified, and 40 percent of children under 5 years of age with recognized E. coli infections were diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome.
Investigators considered three potential causes of E. coli contamination in their E. coli outbreak analysis: repeat contamination of the park by an E. coli-infected person, persistence of bacteria in pool water overnight due to low chlorine levels, or persistence of bacteria in the pool environment but not in the water. Low chlorine levels in the suspect pools were detected on all days of exposure, and it was never determined whether one of the pools had chlorine in it at the time when the exposures occurred.
Marler Clark represented seven children and their families in litigation against the water park, and settled the last of the cases in December of 2000.
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