All cases of E. coli food poisoning are preventable. If the wrongdoer is found, you and your child have the right to sue for compensation. Read a message from Fred Pritzker about food safety lawsuits.

E. coli Bacteria
Under a magnification of 6836x, this colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicted a number of Gram-negative Escherichia coli bacteria of the strain O157:H7. This image is from the CDC.

This pathogen can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), the leading cause of kidney failure in children in the United States. Only 70% of these cases are preceded by bloody diarrhea. In some, by the time a little one gets medical attention, the E. coli culture will be negative because the bacteria has passed through the child’s system.  The CDC recommends doing a rectal swab on admission for any child with symptoms, in addition to getting stool samples. In some cases, the rectal swab will be positive while the stool sample will be negative.

If your daughter or son has a positive culture, it is critical that further testing is done to get a genetic fingerprint of the serotype, which can be used to find other cases around the country. This DNA testing is called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS). Your child’s legal rights to medical bill payments, pain and suffering compensation, and other money is dependent on the correct tests being done.

Complications associated with E. coli-HUS including the following:

  • Stroke
  • Blindness
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Chronic kidney failure
  • Pancreatitis
  • Hypertension
  • Neurological complications
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Heart failure
  • Death

Children are at high risk of developing this illness. The primary reason for this risk is that their immune systems are not as developed.

HUS is particularly bad for children because the kidneys produce a hormone that regulates blood pressure, and this is more true for children. Without this hormone, the blood pressure can become dangerously high. This condition can lead to stroke, neurological problems, and a host of other extremely serious medical conditions.

The high blood pressure is treated with medications. It is possible your son or daughter may end up on these medications for the rest of his or her life.

Moreover, your little one may have lifelong kidney problems, possibly needing dialysis and/or a kidney transplant.