The New York Times has also reported on the day-care center E. coli situation, where three young children who attend the same day care center in the Bronx have been infected with the E. coli bacteria. City health officials are investigating whether as many as 18 other children at the day care center are also infected with the same bacteria.
The Times reports that two of the infections, which occurred at the For Kids Only day care center at 904 Morris Park Avenue, were first reported to city officials by physicians at a Bronx hospital last Friday, said Dr. Don Weiss, the director of surveillance for the Bureau of Communicable Diseases, which is part of the City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Another case was reported on Monday.
From the article:
The children range in age from 7 months to 3 years old, Dr. Weiss said. A fourth child, who does not attend For Kids Only, has also been infected, Dr. Weiss said, and may have had contact with children who do attend the center.
All four children were initially hospitalized, but only one remains in the hospital, in stable condition, Dr. Weiss said.
The exact cause of the outbreak has yet to be determined.
As soon as city officials learned of the outbreak, they sent a medical team, including an epidemiologist, to the day care center. They then called the families of all the children who attend the center regularly to see if they had developed symptoms of infection. The families of 18 children reported possible symptoms.
The owners of For Kids Only are cooperating with the investigation and have voluntarily closed its doors, Dr. Weiss said.
Some levels of the E. coli bacteria are normally found in the intestines of humans and animals. Although most strains are harmless, the strain found in the children, known as E. coli 0157:H7, can cause a diarrheal illness that sometimes leads to kidney damage and severe illness.
The spread of infection is usually caused by poor sanitary practices like inadequate hand-washing after the handling of diapers and the unsafe preparation of food.
Dr. Weiss said that the day care center has no cafeteria and serves food that the children bring from home.
As many as 180 children, from 6 months to 5 years old, regularly attend the center, Dr. Weiss said.
He said outbreaks of E. coli at a day care center occur every now and then around the country but none had occurred in New York City in recent memory.