water slide.jpgThere are reports this evening of an outbreak of E. coli (presumably E. coli O157:H7) infections in Alabama tied to the “Splash Park” at the Opelika Sportsplex and Aquatics Center in Opelika, Alabama.   The Alabama Department of Public Health is advising parents of children that visited the the Splash Park  between June 12 and June 20 to “be alert for symptoms of illness. If a child has nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal cramps parents should seek medical attention for their child.”

According to the report Dr. Mary McIntyre, medical officer of the Bureau of Communicable Disease, said:

Based on what we know now, four children who were in the Splash Park between June 12 and June 18 have been hospitalized at East Alabama Medical Center with gastrointestinal illness.

The park has been closed since June 20.  Water samples from the park are being tested, and two children have reportedly tested positive for E. coli.  (Again, no conclusive word if it is E. coli O157:H7) 

Previous outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 have been tied to waterparks.   Marler Clark represented seven children who became ill with E. coli infections, some with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), after playing in pools at the White Water Park outside of Atlanta, Georgia, in June of 1998.

In the 1998 Georgia outbreak there were ultimately 26 culture-confirmed E. coli cases identified.