Chattanooga: Aquarium sued for $2.4 million over child's illness

Chattanooga: Aquarium sued for $2.4 million over child's illness

June 24th, 2011 by Todd South in News

The parents of a child who petted stingrays at the Tennessee Aquarium in November and developed a bacterial infection known as "fish-handler's disease" filed a federal lawsuit seeking $2.4 million.

The complaint by Christopher and Catherine Callaghan, of Cobb County, Ga., alleges that their child touched stingrays and sharks in the aquarium's exhibit and within six days developed signs of the disease.

Aquarium officials issued a news release late Friday acknowledging the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Chattanooga.

Spokesman Thom Benson wrote about steps staff took after learning the child was sick, including testing the water. He said no staff members have tested positive for the bacteria and noted other sources of possible contamination.

"(Fish-handler's bacteria) can be found in soils, mammals - including cats and dogs - and is frequently associated with infections from poultry and swine," Benson wrote.

See Saturday's Times Free Press for complete coverage.