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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

15 Sick with E. coli O157:H7 at Opelika SportsPlex and Aquatic Center

Screen shot 2011-06-28 at 4.12.06 PM.pngAccording to a news release – The Alabama Department of Public Health continues its investigation of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Lee County. Thirteen children and two adults who either played in the Splash Park or swam in the pool at the Opelika SportsPlex and Aquatic Center between June 4 and June 22 were identified with severe gastrointestinal illness. Five children have been confirmed positive for E. coli O157:H7 infection.

Four children were initially hospitalized and two remain hospitalized.

The Health Department has contacted the parents of children of seven day care centers that had children at the Splash Park during the period of concern. Symptoms of E. coli can appear up until 10 days after exposure.

“Based on the information that we have now, it appears that the common source of exposure was the Aquatic Center,” said State Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson. “Because of the risk for outbreak of illness, it is essential that public pools and water parks follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for adequate chlorine and pH levels.”

Illnesses in recreational waters are caused by germs spread by swallowing, breathing in mists or aerosols or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, water parks, hot tubs, interactive fountains, water play areas, lakes, rivers or oceans. Infection may also occur by touching the environment in petting zoos and other animal exhibits or by eating food prepared by people who did not wash their hands well after using the toilet.

ADPH notified city officials of possible contamination on June 20. ADPH collected water samples for testing from the facilities at the Aquatic Center. The ADPH Bureau of Clinical Laboratories ran the initial tests which were negative for bacteria. Negative results do not guarantee that bacteria was not present. Additional water samples have been collected and sent to the CDC for testing and results are pending.

  • Sam Hill

    It is not surprising to me. The cleaning staff is really low par. If you want to find the source, check out the bathroom next to the pools. They have black gunk in the corners and apparently there is no de-humidifier in there. So between the steam room and people walking out of the pool, there is standing water all day on the floor, as well as, balmy temperatures–perfect for bacterial growth.
    Just installing a good ventilation system in the locker room would most likely take care of microbial growth. Imagine how many people track microbes from the 80 degree 80 percent humidity wet floor locker room into the pool. They need to bleach the whole area every night after they close. I know they don’t do that as is apparent from the condition of the floors. Don’t believe me? Go in first thing in the morning and rub a towel across the floor. It will be black its so dirty.