The Tennessee Department of Health (TDOH) learned of the girl’s illness in late June of 1999 after Peninsula Village had interviewed patients and staff and learned that six patients and three staff members had been ill with diarrhea prior to the onset of the girl’s E. coli infection. TDOH tested stool samples submitted by all ill individuals, but none returned positive for E. coli. A test conducted on a stool specimen submitted by a patient after the first round of testing did test positive for E. coli.
TDOH investigators learned that the only common activity the two patients had participated in was eating food prepared in the Peninsula Village kitchen that was served in the dining hall, and that both had consumed ground beef meals prepared and served at the facility twice within the time frame appropriate to have caused E. coli infection.
In concluding its outbreak investigation, TDOH determined that the two patients’ E. coli infections had been caused by “a single common source of infection” and that a meal of ground beef prepared and served at Peninsula Village was the “best fit” as the likely source.
Marler Clark’s E. coli attorneys represented the female Peninsula Village patient in an E. coli claim against the facility. Her claim was resolved in 2006.