The death of an Arizona man who traveled to Germany recently may be linked to the huge E. coli O104:H4 sprouts outbreak, according to CDC officials investigating his death. As reported by JoNel Aleccia at MSNBC.com:
The man, who was older than 65, died in mid-June, according to Arizona health officials. The Northern Arizona resident had developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, a severe side effect of E. coli infection that can lead to kidney failure, which raised suspicions that his illness was connected to the European outbreak.
If confirmed, the man’s death would be the first in the U.S. tied to the outbreak.
The death is among five confirmed cases and one suspect case of STEC 0104:H4 in U.S. residents, including four who recently traveled to Germany and one who contracted the infection from a traveler.
Post-diarrheal hemolytic uremic syndrome (D+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- (Stx-) producing E. coli. D+HUS was first described in 1955, but was not known to be secondary to E. coli infections until 1982. 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.