Six people who have been hospitalized with E. coli infections in Kentucky are among dozens who have been sickened in an outbreak that also includes illnesses in Ohio, Georgia and Tennessee. As health officials scramble to find the source of the outbreak, a half dozen people in Kentucky are battling an illness that could change their lives forever.
About 10 percent of people with E. coli infections develop a serious complication called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), a form of kidney failure that can be fatal. HUS primarily affects young children, as E.coli lawyer Ryan Osterholm told Lex18. But teenagers, seniors and people with compromised immune systems can also get HUS.
HUS usually sets in about a week after initial E. coli symptoms. In addition to abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhea, a person suffering from HUS will also experience lethargy, fever, easy bruising and decreased urine output. Anyone with these symptoms needs immediate emergency medical attention.
With HUS blood cells become misshapen and die prematurely, clogging the kidneys. When this happens, it can cause kidney failure, heart attack, seizure and stroke. For about 12 percent of children, HUS is fatal. Those who recover may suffer long-term health problems.
So far, health officials had confirmed 44 cases of E. coli poisoning from 24 counties in Kentucky. But as many as 20 more suspected cases are awaiting confirmation.
The people sickened in this outbreak range in age from 1 year to 81 years old with a median age of 18. It is unclear how many additional cases have been reported from Georgia, Tennessee and Ohio.
Health officials have not yet determined the food source of the outbreak. Vegetables and ground beef are the most common sources of E. coli outbreaks. Other foods associated with E. coli outbreaks are unpasteurized dairy products and fruit juices.
If you or a loved one have been sickened and would like a free consultation with the Pritzker Hageman E. coli Team, call 1 (888) 377-8900, text 612-261-0856. Or complete the form below. The consultation is free and there is no obligation.