According to a news article today by Steven Elbow of The Capital Times, it appears that health officials from State and Green Counties in Wisconsin are investigating an E. coli outbreak that has claimed the life of a 1-year-old girl and has sickened several others.
“The Wisconsin Division of Public Health and our department here in Green County are investigating a cluster of nine confirmed E. coli O157:H7 infections,” said RoAnn Warden, director of the Green County Health Department.
All of those sickened are from Green County, although Warden said they have been geographically spread out, with some in the outlying portions of the county. Some households have had multiple cases.
Sources have told The Cap Times that a 20-month-old girl from Green County died Sunday at UW Children’s Hospital in Madison after being admitted about a week earlier.
While Warden said she can’t talk about the case because of medical confidentiality laws, she said two patients have been diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious complication stemming from E. coli infection that causes kidney disease.
Warden said the outbreak started in mid-August, and the last case occurred in early September, about a week ago. “We have not identified a common course of exposure,” she said.
Post-diarrheal hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a severe, life-threatening complication that occurs in about 10 percent of those infected with E. coli O157:H7 or other Shiga toxin producing E. coli. It is now recognized as the most common cause of acute kidney failure in infants and young children. Adolescents and adults are also susceptible, as are the elderly, who often succumb to the disease. For more information about HUS, visit www.about-hus.com.