It has been reported that the recent death of a 65 year old resident of Arizona may be linked to the outbreak of E. coli O104:H4 in Germany, and throughout Europe. The outbreak, now being linked to bean sprouts, has been associated with as many as 44 deaths, and 3,798 total cases. A stunning 865 of the reported cases involve hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS. HUS is a potentially fatal complication of E. coli infections, involving, among other things, renal failure.
According to the report, the Arizona Department of Health Services would not reveal the man’s name but said he is older than 65 and had traveled recently to Germany. In addition, Arizona health officials had been notified before the man’s passing that he was suffering from HUS, a reportable disease in Arizona.
Arizona health officials have sent laboratory samples to the CDC, where tests can be conducted to determine if the Arizona resident was contaminated with the specific strain associated with the German bean sprout outbreak.
Through Wednesday, the CDC had identified five confirmed cases and one suspected case of STEC infections in the United States – in Massachusetts, Michigan, Wisconsin and North Carolina – but no confirmed deaths. If confirmed, the Arizona case would be the first death of a U.S. citizen linked to the outbreak.