Our thoughts are with the Minnesota family whose daughter died after contracting a serious illness caused by E. coli bacteria. Three-year-old Kallan Maresh of Maple Lake passed away July 15 after contracting hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a deadly E. coli illness that kept her brother, Kade, 5, on dialysis in the hospital for almost two weeks before he returned home July 27.

According to their Caring Bridge page (https://www.caringbridge.org/public/kadeandkallanmaresh), the Maresh siblings were diagnosed with HUS after experiencing bloody diarrhea and vomiting for a week. HUS produces serious damage to the kidneys because it destroys the red blood cells, and it usually requires dialysis and often a kidney transplant. 

Although several sources are being considered, Minnesota Department of Health officials say they believe the source may be from a petting zoo the children visited. E. coli also can be found in contaminated meat or produce, as well as swimming pools and lakes that are contaminated with feces.

Anyone can become infected by E. coli, but those at the highest risk of developing severe illness or HUS include young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. (As much as 10 percent of those infected with E. coli develop HUS.) The incubation period is typically 3 to 4 days, but it can be anywhere from 24 hours to 10 days. Symptoms can vary but generally include abdominal cramps, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), gas, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.

Attorney Elliot Olsen has represented families who have lost children to HUS, and he understands the insurmountable pain associated with that loss. Grieving loved ones have many questions and often are left wondering where to turn. Elliot can help ease this burden by holding someone responsible. Contact him for a free consultation.