Bill Marler

Food Safety Advocate & Food Poisoning Attorney

Jordan Shook - The 1998 White Water Water Park E. coli Outbreak

In June of 1998, the Georgia Department of Health launched an investigation to determine the source of E. coli O157:H7 infections landing many Atlanta, GA-area children in the hospital. Interviews with the victims’ families determined that all had recently been to the same water park, White Water. Further investigation revealed low levels of chlorine in the park’s pools on all days victims had been exposed to the bacteria.  It was determined that bacteria had either grown in the water due to this insufficient chlorination, or had been present in the environment surrounding the pools.

Ultimately, 26 culture-confirmed E. coli cases were linked to the White Water outbreak. Forty percent of outbreak victims under five years old developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, a serious complication from E. coli poisoning that can lead to kidney failure and central nervous system impairment.

One of these children was Jordan Shook, whose case of HUS was so severe that her nephrologist (kidney specialist) identified it as the worst he had ever seen. Not only did she develop kidney failure, but she sustained damage to all of her major organs, and suffered a stroke that caused extensive brain damage. Fifty-two days after hospitalization, she was released home to begin a very different life from the one she had before her visit to White Water.  

Jordan was treated for her HUS in the same hospital as two other children who also developed HUS from the outbreak, one of whom died.  

Marler Clark represented Jordan and six other children and their families in claims against the water park. The last case was resolved in 2000. You can read more about E. coli lawsuits and litigation that stemmed from the White Water park E. coli outbreak on the Marler Clark Website.

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