An Upstate child-care facility linked to at least 11 cases of E. coli over the past month was cleared to re-open this week, state health officials said.
Until Saturday, eight cases of the bacterial infection had been confirmed. The three latest cases to be identified occurred in people who had been sick in May or who never had symptoms of E. coli, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Since there was no evidence of continued transmission of the infection, and no new illnesses since June 1, DHEC cleared The Learning Vine in Greenwood to reopen on Monday.
The incidents unfolded on May 18, when DHEC was notified that a case of E. coli had been confirmed in someone associated with the facility. On May 29, it learned of a case ofhemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, which is a potentially fatal complication of E. coli, which also was connected to the facility.
The Greenwood County Coroner’s Office confirmed that a child in the county had died of HUS.
And by June 7, seven cases of E. coli — two resulting in hospitalizations — were confirmed among people at the facility and their family members, a number that was increased to eight the next day.
The agency subsequently learned about multiple individuals who had been sick as early asMay 1.
DHEC won’t discuss any of the cases citing confidentiality concerns.
E. coli symptoms can include severe stomach cramps, often bloody diarrhea, and vomiting, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While most people improve in five to seven days, up to 10 percent go on to develop a condition calledhemolytic uremic syndrome, which can lead to permanent damage or death.
While anyone can be infected with E. coli, young children and the elderly are most at risk for serious complications, CDC reports.
People can be infected after ingesting food or liquids contaminated with trace amounts of human or animal feces, CDC reports.
Infection also can occur after someone comes into contact with the feces of infected people, such as by changing diapers, and by consuming food prepared by people who didn’t wash their hands well after using the bathroom.
A DHEC investigation is ongoing.