Promed 8 Essay

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ProMed #8: Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome A 12 year old Pasco County, Florida girl died suddenly Wednesday, March 23, 2005. A week later, investigators said that her death is possibly linked to an outbreak of kidney disease caused by E. coli 0157:H7. In early March, 2005, Plant City, Florida held a Strawberry Festival and Orlando held the Central Florida Fair. In attendance at both festivals was a petting zoo and investigators believed that contact with the animals may be the cause of transmission. So far, 14 people who attended either of the festivals have been confirmed as sick or have having tested positive for E. coli. As for the Pasco County victim, health officials are awaiting her autopsy to see if she was infected with the bacteria or if she died from a kidney disease called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), which can result in children from an E. coli infection. E. coli 0157:H7 is a relatively new type of food borne illness. According to the CDC, 73,000 cases and 61 deaths occur annually in the U.S. due to this strain of E. coli. E. coli lives in the intestines of healthy humans and animals, but this strain produces powerful toxins that can cause severe illness, including HUS. This particular strain was discovered in 1982 and traced to undercooked hamburger meat. Other sources of infection include alfalfa sprouts, lettuce, salami, un-pasteurized milk and juice and swimming or drinking sewage contaminated water. The organism can also be found on cattle farms, since the bacteria live in the intestines of healthy cattle as well. Transmission primarily occurs due to poor hand washing and hygiene habits. E. coli 0157:H7 causes severe bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps. In children under 5 and in the elderly, an E. coli 0157:H7 infection can cause the complication Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). In HUS, bacteria get lodged in the digestive

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