At least three children from Maquoketa, Iowa have been hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a form of kidney failure associated E. coli infections, according to a report in the Telegraph Herald. KWQC-TV says viewers have contacted the station to say E. coli cases have been reported throughout Jackson County.

Nichole Notz told the paper that her 2-year-old son Calvin “Cal” Notz was placed in a medically induced coma after he suffered multiple seizures and a stroke from his HUS infection.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection, which include abdominal cramps and diarrhea that can be bloody, usually develop within three days of exposure. Over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications and antibiotics should not be given to patients with E. coli infections as they can increase the chance of developing HUS. 

What is Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS)?

HUS is a potentially fatal complication that affects between 5 percent and 10 percent of E. coli patients. Most often it affects children under 5.  HUS symptoms usually develop a week after initial E. coli symptoms.  Treatment for HUS includes blood transfusion, dialysis, plasma exchange, and kidney transplant. HUS can be fatal. Anyone who develops HUS symptoms should seek immediate emergency care. HUS symptoms include:

  • Pale skin
  • Unexplained bruising
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Swelling in legs, feet, or ankles
  • Shortness of breath
  • Decreased urination
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Bleeding from the nose or mouth,
  • Seizures
  • Stroke

Maquoketa, Iowa E. coli Outbreak

At least three Maquoketa children ranging in age from 18 months to 12 years old have been sickened in this outbreak. They are all receiving treatment at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City.

Calvin Notz first seemed to feel sick on May 21, his mother told the Telegraph Herald. He was tired and his appetite was off. By May 23, he was experiencing bloody diarrhea. They took him to urgent care and were sent to the hospital. On May 25, he was transferred to the Stead Family Children’s Hospital. After suffering multiple strokes and seizure he was placed in a medically induced coma.

Child hospitalized with E. coli infection


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Nichole Notz told the Telegraph Herald that she was aware of at least two other Maquoteka children being treated for HUS at the hospital. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Notz family pay for medical costs and lost wages.

Jessi Howell told the paper that her 12-year-old son Shane’s illness began in late May with flu-like symptoms. By May 30, he had lost his appetite, had no energy, was vomiting and had diarrhea. She took him to the emergency room.  After a follow-up doctor’s visit, he was referred to Stead Family Children’s Hospital where he has been since June 2.

After Shane’s kidneys began to fail, he was placed on dialysis. He was transferred to the ICU after suffering two strokes.  “This should not have happened to him or those other babies from our town,” Jessi Howell told the paper.

Shane’s condition is improving and he could soon be released from the hospital but will need to travel back there three times a week for dialysis. His extended family has established an account at DuTrac Community Credit Union to help with expenses and travel. Donations can be made at any DuTrac location

The parents of 18-month-old Briella Davis told KWQC that they first noticed their daughter was ill when they picked her up from daycare about three weeks ago. She wasn’t hungry and had diarrhea. Her parents Caleb and Maggie Davis brought her to the emergency room at a local hospital. There they were told their daughter had a virus and it would run its course.

The next day, Briella slept almost the entire day and during the brief period when she was awake she had diarrhea. They took her to a hospital in Dubuque and were transferred to the Stead Family Children’s Hospital where doctors diagnosed her with HUS. During her three-week stay, she has been receiving dialysis treatments. They told the station her condition has improved and they hope to bring her home tomorrow.

Maquoketa, Iowa E. coli Outbreak Investigation

The City of Maquoketa has been recently been experiencing water problems. On May 31, the City experienced a power outage at its water towers and issued a boil water advisory.  On June 3, a water line was struck and water was shut off. And on June 10, a water shut-off and boil water advisory for E. coli will be in effect for part of the city while a water main is replaced.

Health officials have not yet determined the source of the outbreak. On June 6, the Jackson County Department of Health issued a press release saying community members had been reporting cases of gastrointestinal illness. It focussed on telling people not to go to work or school if they were sick. It did not mention E. coli, HUS, or that three children were hospitalized with grave illnesses. It did not mention foods or drinks that all three children ate, events they all attended during the week before they became ill.

E. coli Outbreaks Involving Children with HUS

Previous E. coli outbreaks involving children have been linked to unpasteurized milk or juice, petting zoos, daycare settings, and contaminated food.

In Washington state, nine children are part of an ongoing E. coli outbreak linked to organic yogurt. The locally made pasteurized yogurt was sold under the PCC and Pure Eire brand names. The outbreak includes 15 cases. Nine people have been hospitalized, four of them with HUS.

In 2017, Pritzker Hageman E. coli lawyers represented the family of a child who developed HUS after being served I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter, which was contaminated with E. coli, at daycare.  The lawsuit sought compensation for the injured child -pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of future earning potential, loss of quality of life;  and compensation for the parents -lost wages, medical bills, and other expenses.

In 2016, our lawyers won a $1 million wrongful death settlement for the parents of a 2-year-old boy who died from an E. coli infection he contracted at daycare. A teacher at the daycare had tested positive for E. coli and continued to teach in violation of state regulations.

In 2016, our attorneys won a $7.5 million award for a 10-year-old  child who developed E. coli and HUS from contact with animals at a pumpkin patch petting zoo. Because they have seen first-hand the profound impact these illnesses can have, our attorneys have lobbied for laws mandating safety practices at animal exhibits.

In 2020, the E. coli lawyers at Pritzker Hageman filed a lawsuit on behalf of a 4-year-old boy who suffered permanent kidney damage from an infection he contracted after visiting the Miracle of Birth Center at the Minnesota State Fair last summer. The E. coli outbreak, linked to an educational exhibit that features the live birth of cows, pigs, sheep, goats, and other animals, sickened 11 people.

E. coli Lawsuit Consultation

Pritzker Hageman E. coli lawyers have represented clients in every major E. coli outbreak in the U.S. If your child was sickened in the Maquoketa, Iowa E. coli outbreak and you would like a free consultation with an experienced E. coli lawyer, please contact the Pritzker Hageman E. coli Legal Team. You can reach us by calling 1-888-377-8900, sending a text to 612-261-0856, or by completing the form below. There is no obligation and you don’t pay us unless we win.

We are not paid unless you win. Submitting this form does not create an attorney-client relationship.

UPDATED This post was updated June 14.

UPDATED This post was updated June 10.