Three Robeson Co. Children Remain Hospitalized After E. coli Outbreak
Posted December 6, 2001 9:24 a.m. EST
MAXTON — A Robeson County school is temporarily closed due to an outbreak of
About 40 children at
Prospect Elementary School
have shown symptoms of E. coli; 11 children have tested positive for the bacteria. Three students are hospitalized.
Two of three students are in the intensive care unit at UNC Hospitals. Doctors said that Nicholas Bullard, 8, and Eden Locklear, 11, continue to show improvement, but are expected to remain at the hospital through next week.
Two children who tested positive were not from the school.
Most E. coli infections are caused by eating undercooked beef.
The Robeson County Health Department ruled out the school cafeteria, its workers and the water supply as a source of the bacteria.
Officials believe the bacteria came from food brought to the school for a Thanksgiving celebration.
"We've asked the school not to introduce food unless it's commercial or wrapped. I know we're in the holiday season, but if a person is at home and makes a meatloaf and then decorates cupcakes, they could carry the disease with them," said Bill Smith, Robeson County Health Director.
"The food link is over now," Smith said. "We are looking now at secondary outbreaks. People who have been infected can transmit the disease. That's why we are stressing handwashing and making sure food is cooked properly."
As a precaution, the school will be cleaned from top to bottom on Wednesday.
E. coli Information: