E. coli-HUS and Central Nervous System (CNS) Damage

E. coli O157 poisoning can cause central nervous system (CNS) damage. Symptoms of E. coli-CNS include seizures, lethargy, irritability, and cortical blindness.

E. coli O157 is a Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC). As such, it produces Shiga toxins I and II (Stx1 and Stx2), which are poison to the human body. They can be particularly damaging to the central nervous system and kidneys, where the toxins can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), the leading cause of kidney failure in children in the U.S.

E. coli HUS
E. coli O157

About 30% of E. coli-HUS patients have one or more of the following signs of CNS damage:

  • double vision (diplopia);
  • difficulty swallowing (dysphasia);
  • weakness of facial muscles or facial paralysis (palsy);
  • altered consciousness;
  • seizures; and
  • coma.

CNS damage can be triggered by any of the following HUS-associated kidney failure complications, which are related to the body’s inability to excrete waste through urine:

  • acidosis (too much acid in the body);
  • hyponatremia (abnormally low sodium);
  • hyperkalemia (high potassium);
  • hypocalcemia (low serum calcium);
  • hypermagnesemia (too much magnesium);
  • overhydration;
  • dehydration.

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E. coli and Central Nervous System Symptoms | One Child’s Story

A young boy eats a sandwich at a restaurant, and five days later he has severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea, which turns bloody. He becomes lethargic and then his parents notice he is barely urinating. Something is wrong. They bring him to the hospital, where he is tentatively diagnosed with E. coli-HUS and kidney failure. He has seizures and is slipping in and out of consciousness. He is fighting for his life.

The state health department finds out others have been sickened with similar symptoms after eating at the same restaurant location. Further investigation finds that tainted lettuce served at the restaurant was the source of the illnesses.

This is one child’s story. Our young clients and their families suffer immeasurable harm because companies sell unsafe food, putting profits before consumer safety.

Has your little one eaten poisoned food? Attorneys on our food poisoning legal team can help.

Click here now for a free consultation

Many of our clients have suffered central nervous system injuries, and it has been our privilege to serve them by helping them obtain compensation from corporate wrongdoers.


  1. Theobald, I., et al. “Central nervous system involvement in hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)–a retrospective analysis of cerebral CT and MRI studies.” Clinical nephrology 56.6 (2001): S3-8.
  2. Rooney, J. C., R. McD Anderson, and I. J. Hopkins. “Clinical and pathological aspects of central nervous system involvement in the haemolytic uraemic syndrome.” Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 7.1 (1971): 28-33.
  3. Signorini, E., et al. “Central nervous system involvement in a child with hemolytic uremic syndrome.” Pediatric Nephrology 14.10-11 (2000): 990-992.

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