A child diagnosed with E. coli O157:H7 has died after an outbreak at a Vancouver-Portland area daycare center hospitalized four.
Health officials said the first reported illness occurred on March 19. The daycare, located in Clark County, WA, was temporarily shut down on April 2.
The name of the child who died has not been released, nor has the age. Dr. Alan Melnick, a Clark County Health officer, said the transmission was thought to be person-to-person.
Officials said seven people who work at or attend the daycare have also displayed symptoms consistent with E. coli poisoning, but none have been hospitalized. So far, investigators haven’t been able to identify the source.
“In investigating this particular outbreak, we were not able to find a point of source or specific food or beverage item that caused the infection,” Melnick said. “What it seemed like was that there was some person to person transmission going on in the daycare.”
Those who live near the daycare center said the establishment’s owners, Larry and Diane Fletch, are responsible childcare providers.
“We had decided to close even before they told us to do so. It was so hard,” said Larry Fletch. “We care so much and work so hard. It really is so horrible. We knew the child since before he was born. We’ve been trying to help the family. It’s just so horrible. We were close to the child. We’re close to all of our children.”
The three other sickened children are recovering at home.