Simultaneous raw milk E. coli outbreaks in Missouri and Oregon have caused 6 kids to be hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS. HUS, which is cuased by severe E. coli infection, results in kidney failure, anemia, and the destruction of platelets in the bloodstream. Before the advent of dialysis, it was basically a death sentence; and even today, kids and adults alike can die from it, or, at the very least, suffer from life-long severe medical problems as a result of the kidney (and sometimes other organs) damage done during the acute phase of the illness.
The strain of E. coli involved in the Oregon raw milk outbreak was particularly virulent, as evidenced by the four cases of HUS. The list of kids and adults who we have helped who suffered severe HUS illnesses, and many life-long problems, is as long as it is depressing to look at. For just a few, see the stories of Chris Martin (who was sickened by raw milk from Organic Pastures in California), Stephanie Smith, and Linda Rivera.
As for the area hardest hit by this rash of raw milk E. coli outbreaks, northwest Oregon kids have been hit hardest. Melissa Harshman at The Columbian reports that:
A Clark County boy who is younger than 11 is among those who became ill after consuming the milk, said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Health Officer. Melnick didn’t provide more specific information about the boy in order to protect his identity.
The boy had diarrhea and other symptoms consistent with E. coli. Those symptoms have since resolved, Melnick said.
The local lab found the boy tested positive for E. coli. The state lab is confirming those results, Melnick said.
The other children and adult who were sickened live in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties in Oregon.
Best of luck to all of these kids.