October 18, 2021

Three Children with E. coli O157 Infections in NC

The Davidson County Health Department in North Carolina is now investigating three cases of E. coli O157 infections in children who live in that area. They say that two Tyro Middle School students have been hospitalized with severe, bloody diarrhea, a symptom of hemolytic uremic syndrome, a complication of an E. coli infection. Another child has been identified with E. coli, but that child has not been hospitalized and attends a different school.

Child Food PoisoningMonecia Thomas, Davidson County Health Department Health Director said in a statement, “we are asking anyone in the community who has been sick during the month of December with severe or bloody diarrhea to please call the Davidson County Health Department at 336-242-2300. If you are still sick, please seek medical care.” Transmission of E. coli bacteria can occur from contact with ruminant animals or by eating undercooked meats, contaminated food, or unpasteurized food or drinks.

Attorney Fred Pritzker, who has represented children with E. coli-HUS infections, said, “this serious disease is distressing to patients and their families. Most of these cases are caused by contaminated food or water. We hope the cause is identified quickly and hope the patients get well soon.”

E. coli O157 bacteria produce a poison called Shiga toxin. This toxin gets into the bloodstream and attacks the kidneys. An E. coli infection produces symptoms including severe cramps, acute bloody and/or watery diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. Hemolytic uremic syndrome symptoms include blood in the urine, decreased urination, small, unexplained bruises, and bleeding from the nose and mouth. Medical care is necessary with this complication.

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