E. coli Linked to Alabama Waterpark Hospitalizes 6 Children

Six young children have been hospitalized for what is believed to be <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">E. coli poisoning linked to an indoor water park in Arizona. The children, aged 1 to 7, fell ill after swimming at the potentially contaminated Opelika SportsPlex and Aquatic Center in the time from June 12 through June 18, according to Dr. Mary McIntyre, medical officer of the Bureau of Communicable Disease at the Alabama Department of Public Health, said CNN Health.

Five of the children were transferred and treated with antibiotics at the Children’s Hospital of Alabama in Birmingham; they were previously treated at the East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, said CNN. The Opelika SportsPlex and Aquatic Center, an indoor splash park, was closed last week; other facilities at the park have remained open, according to a park official. Chemical levels will be tested, said Dr. McIntyre, “We are continuing to work with the medical community to identify the extent of the problem,” quoted CNN Health.

The department of public health has also urged parents whose children may have visited the park to contact the health department if children complain of symptoms consistent with E. coli poisoning.

E. coli poisoning typically results symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea; however, some E. coli bacteria is potentially deadly with symptoms that can include bloody diarrhea, dehydration, abdominal cramps, and vomiting. In the most severe cases, the symptoms of E. coli poisoning can include kidney failure. The very young, seniors, and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to these symptoms.

E. coli Infection can lead to other adverse health effects, some long-term and serious, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which encompasses a group of disorders, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which cause the intestines to become inflamed. IBD can cause Abdominal Cramps and pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and bleeding from the intestines. Victims of E. coli infection are also at risk of developing a form of reactive arthritis called Reiter’s Syndrome, which typically affects large weight-bearing joints such as the knees and the lower back.

Victims of E. coli poisoning sometimes require kidney transplants and may have scarred intestines that cause lasting digestive difficulty. Even E. coli patients who supposedly recovered can experience long-term health problems later on. An estimated that 10 percent of E. coli foodborne illness sufferers develop a life-threatening complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, in which their kidneys and other organs fail.

The health department noted that 7 day-care centers took children to the Opelika SportsPlex and Aquatic Center for day camp during the time officials said the water might have been contaminated. “We’re recommending any children who did attend the splash park, until we can determine the full extent of the infection, not to swim in inflatable pools,” McIntyre said, quoted CNN Health, pointing out that swimming could spread the bacteria to other children.

E. coli, although traditionally passed via ingested foods and beverages, is caused by bacteria found in feces and can be passed in contaminated swimming water. The health department warns people to avoid swimming if they have diarrhea, not to swallow pool or lake water, and to shower with soap before swimming to help keep E. coli germs out of pool water, said CNN.

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