E. coli cases in Washington state prompt closure of two child care facilities
Posted: June 30th, 2010 - 3:52pm by Doug Powell
We’ve got the best babysitter for Sorenne. We had two, but one went to France. The other is an early childhood development student, incredibly outgoing, and entertains Sorenne from 8-12 a.m. weekday mornings.
There are lots of great day cares and child care centers out there. But they need to be the bug, to think about how dangerous microorganisms move around in the environment, involving care givers, kids, food and poop.
Over the past week, one confirmed and two suspected E. coli illness cases have been reported to the Kittitas County Public Health Department. The confirmed case, a 5-year old Ellensburg resident, does not attend a child care facility. This child was hospitalized and has since recovered. The two suspected cases, siblings, attend Creative Kids Learning Center and Little Tot Town child care facilities, both in Ellensburg.
During a public health investigation, staff discovered that there are multiple other children and staff members with symptoms of the illness. Since some people with E. coli will have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, and there is the potential for person-to-person spread of the illness, Kittitas County Health Officer Dr. Mark Larson is requiring a temporary closure of both facilities, effective immediately.
“We understand that the temporary closure of Creative Kids Learning Center and Little Tot Town will create a hardship for working parents. The decision was not made lightly. We believe that temporarily closing these facilities is the best option to protect the health of these children,” said Dr. Larson. An outbreak of E. coli in April 2010 associated with a child care facility in Clark County, Washington resulted in the hospitalization of four children, including one who died from the illness.
Children who attend Creative Kids Learning Center or Little Tot Town will not be able to attend any child care facility until they have two tests showing they are free of illness. These tests must be given at least 24 hours apart. Testing will be free for children who attend either of the affected child care facilities, and test kits can be picked up at the Kittitas Valley Community Hospital laboratory at any time.