November 19, 2017

Mystery of Two MN Children with E. coli Infections Unsolved

The Minnesota Department of Health has ended its investigation into two E. coli illnesses in Wright County. Two young children, siblings, were sickened with the deadly pathogen. One of the little ones died, and the other is recovering at home.

E coli bacteria

Both children developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, after they acquired the infections. The strain of bacteria that caused the illnesses is Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, or STEC, also known as STEC O145. Another undetermined type of STEC was also found in isolates.

Investigators looked at all known potential sources of E. coli bacteria as they tried to figure out where the bacteria came from. Those sources included foods such as ground beef, leafy greens, and raw milk, along with swimming, person-to-person transmission in school or daycare settings, and farm animal contact, such as at petting zoos and fairs.

MDH State Public health Veterinarian Joni Scheftel said in a statement, “Unfortunately, we were not able to identify the source of the children’s infections. In particular, we did not find a connection with a petting zoo that the children visited, despite extensive testing of the animals. However, we will continue to monitor for cases that may help establish a link and/or source.”

Previous E. coli outbreaks in the state have been linked to petting zoos, Halloween farm attractions, raw milk, and produce. Earlier this year, a deadly E. coli outbreak was linked to recalled I.M. Healthy Soynut Butter products, and a current outbreak is linked to the Mesa County Fair in Grand Junction, Colorado.

The symptoms of an E. coli infection include severe and painful abdominal and stomach cramps, diarrhea that is watery and/or bloody, and a mild fever. People usually get sick a few days after exposure to the bacteria. Most people do see a doctor because these symptoms are so severe.

If the illness is not treated properly or if the patient is under the age of 5, a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), can develop. This complication can cause kidney failure, seizures, strokes, and unfortunately death.

Bad Bug Law Team | Pritzker Law Firm

If you or a loved one contracted an E. coli infection or HUS, contact the lawyers from our experienced legal team for help at 1-888-377-8900.

Pritzker Hageman law firm represents and helps people who have been sickened by contaminated food such as the I.M. Healthy product. We get answers, compensation for those who have been injured, and justice through our work. Our lawyers represent families of children sickened with bacterial infections in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against retailers, grocery stores, food processors, restaurants, daycare centers, schools, and others. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his team recently won $7.5 million for young client whose kidneys failed because of hemolytic uremic syndrome after an E. coli O157:H7 infection. Please note that class action lawsuits are usually not appropriate for outbreak victims because these types of cases are so unique.

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