May 29, 2024

Mysterious E. coli Outbreak in LaCrosse, WI Hospitalizes 6 Kids

An E. coli outbreak has sickened at least eight people in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and hospitalized six children. The La Crosse County Health Department is investigating the outbreak, according to the La Crosse Tribune.

E coli bacteria

Some of the children have recovered and have been released from the hospital. The bacteria that made them sick is E. coli O157. And they were hospitalized because they developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of an E. coli infection that can cause kidney failure, strokes, seizures, and death. This type of bacteria releases shiga toxins, which travel through the bloodstream and kill red blood cells. Those dead and damaged cells can then clog the kidneys, causing them to fail.

The Wisconsin Department of Health is assisting La Crosse County in investigating this outbreak. A single source of the bacteria has not been identified.

Officials were first notified of this outbreak earlier this month. More people are being tested as possible cases.

Most E. coli outbreaks are linked to contaminated food. Produce, undercooked or raw ground beef, and raw milk are common sources of this pathogenic bacteria. This illness can also be spread person-to-person.

To prevent this illness, wash your hands well with soap and water after using the bathroom, caring for someone who is sick, or changing diapers. Do not prepare food or serve it to others if you have a diarrheal illness. And stay home from work or school if you have diarrhea.

The bacteria is shed in the feces. When a person doesn’t wash their hands well after using the bathroom or changing diapers, feces can transfer to other surface and can contaminate food.

Children younger than the age of 5, and the elderly are the most susceptible to this illness and are most likely to develop HUS. People usually get sick a few days after exposure to the bacteria. Since the symptoms are so severe, most people also see a doctor.

The symptoms of an E. coli infection include serious and severe abdominal cramps, diarrhea that may be bloody, nausea, and a low grade fever. The symptoms of HUS include little or no urine output, easy bruising, a skin rash, lethargy, and bleeding from the nose or mouth.

HUS can destroy the kidneys and is a very serious health condition. If anyone is experiencing any of these symptoms they should see a doctor immediately.

The noted law firm Pritzker Hageman helps people who have been sickened by contaminated food protect their legal rights and get answers and compensation. Our lawyers help patients and families of children in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against schools, retailers, grocery stores, food processors, restaurants, and others. Attorney Fred Pritzker recently won $7.5 million for a young client whose kidneys failed because he developed hemolytic uremic syndrome after an E. coli infection. You should know that class action lawsuits may not be appropriate for outbreak victims because each individual case is very different.


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