Jun 6, 2011 9:33 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP
MONROE, La. (AP) - A 5-year-old girl from Rayville has been hospitalized for more than two weeks, suffering from an E. coli bacterial infection.
The girl was taken to the LSU Health Sciences
Center-Shreveport's pediatric intensive care unit after she became sick while attending a party in Richland Parish.
The girl's grandfather told The News-Star in Monroe that as many as 15 children were sickened following an end-of-the-year Ouachita Christian School party last month on a farm between Start and Rayville.
Dr. Shelley Jones, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Region 8 director, said the state has confirmed three cases of E. coli, but Jones said it's unlikely an exact source of the E. coli will ever be determined.
Jones suspects the children were infected while playing in a mud pit.OCS headmaster Bobby Stokes said the party was not put on by the school.
"We do know based on preliminary analysis that the children who played in the mud pit more than five minutes were more likely to have symptoms," Jones said. "But the state lab is unable to do environmental testing, so we're probably not going to know definitively."
More thorough investigations are conducted if E. coli has contaminated food sources that could spread through the population, which isn't believed to be the case in this instance since no other cases outside of those attending the party have been reported.