Children with E. coli-HUS Treated at Honolulu Hospital

An E. coli O157 outbreak on the island of Oahu in Hawaii has sickened at least 9 people, and hospitalized one elderly adult (most likely with severe dehydration) and three children. The 3 children, all treated in Honolulu, developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening complication of an E. coli infection that causes kidney failure and a host of other serious health problems.

The source of this outbreak on Oahu needs to be found as soon as possible. Young children are most at risk for developing HUS, and their little bodies are ravaged by it. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his Bad Bug Law Team have represented many E. coli-HUS victims. “HUS always affects the kidneys to some extent and often causes renal failure. With renal failure comes injury to other organs, including the brain, heart and pancreas. People do not realize that HUS can cause little children to have strokes and heart attacks,” said Fred.

“It is just heartbreaking to see children fighting for their lives because a grower, food manufacturer, restaurant and/or retailer did not take the steps necessary to protect their customers from harm,” said Fred, who recently won over $40,000,000.00 for clients injured by a defective product. “This outbreak is particularly frightening because the source of these illnesses has not been determined and children are still getting infected.”

The department of health has not found a clear connection between the E. coli victims, who reside in different areas of Oahu. Given the widespread nature of this outbreak, the most likely source of the outbreak is food. The key if finding something that connects all of the victims.

The premier food poisoning outbreak questionnaire used by some health department epidemiologists was initially developed by Oregon’s senior epidemiologist and nationally renowned food sleuth, Dr. William Keene. The CDC now also uses this questionnaire. The following are lists from that questionnaire of possible sources of contaminated food:

Eating and Shopping Venues
Fast-food restaurant
Sit-down restaurant
Grocery store
Coffee shop
Street vendor
Gas station or mini-mart
Hotel room service
Child-care facility
Potluck-type private events
Catered private gatherings
Food brought to school classes (preschool in the case of this outbreak)
Free samples from anywhere (generally a grocery store or food warehouse store like Costco or Sams)

Sources of Food at Home
Grocery stores
Food warehouse stores (Costco, Sams, etc.)
Ethnic specialty markets
Famer’s markets
Fish or meat shop
Home delivery service

If tainted food was the cause of the illnesses in this E. coli O157 outbreak, there is most likely a connection involving one of the above. From there, it may be possible to determine which food item was the source.

Another logical source for the outbreak is contact with animals. One would think that this would be easy to determine, but animal contact can happen at different locations, making it difficult to put the pieces together. For example, if an animal was shown at a county fair attended by a few victims and then brought to a preschool attended by other victims, it would take time to figure this out.

We recently won a case for a young boy who contracted E. coli-HUS from a llama at a petting zoo. This was not a huge outbreak, which made it more difficult to determine the source.

Attorney Fred Pritzker and his Bad Bug Law Team represent HUS and E. coli O157 victims throughout the United States. You can contact Fred for a free consultation HERE.

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Category: Food Poisoning
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