The Alabama Department of Public Health is investigating reports of widespread illness after 86 children attending two day care centers were seen at three Montgomery hospitals in association with this potential outbreak. The children had symptoms of lethargy, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and cramps. Thirty children were hospitalized, and all but one has been discharged.

Public health staff has inspected the centers in Montgomery and collected clinical and environmental samples that are being processed at the Bureau of Clinical Laboratories. An investigation protocol that includes detailed questionnaires is being utilized.

On the afternoon of June 23, a concerned parent contacted Health Department personnel to report this suspected outbreak. A kitchen at the Sunnyside Child Care Center on S. Court Street prepares meals for children there and caters food served at the Sunnyside Child Care Center on Norman Bridge Road. More than 300 children attended the two day care centers Tuesday.

As of today, the department has closed the kitchen and has asked the child care center to remain closed while the investigation is ongoing. State Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson has advised parents not to take ill children who attended these centers to any day care providers while this investigation is underway.

“Although we realize this will be inconvenient for families, caution is the appropriate public health prevention measure at this time,” Dr. Williamson said. “We urge all parents to follow guidelines for child care admittance, such as being free of fever and other symptoms for 24 hours before returning to day care.”