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Toddler slowly recovers from E. coli at Children's Hospital in Denver


    By Jan Goff
    Managing Editor


Source of Article:

     Jackson Wykert, 21 months, is recovering at Children's Hospital in Denver after being stricken with E. coli during the first part of August.
     According to his parents, Jessica and Kraig Wykert, the toddler began having diarrhea on Aug. 10 and was taken to the Perkins County Community Hospital.
     The boy was becoming dehydrated, and because medical personnel at Perkins County Community Hospital were unable to get an IV started in the small child, he was taken to Great Plains Regional Medical Center in North Platte.
     While en route, the parents were informed their son had E. coli. He spent one night in North Platte before pediatricians made the decision to life flight him to Children's Hospital in Denver on Aug. 14.
     While in Children's Hospital, the little boy has received several blood transfusions, surgical placement of a catheter in his abdomen, attempted kidney dialysis, and many tests checking his blood and urine output, because the type of E. coli he has been afflicted with can cause acute renal failure.
     Until the child's kidneys are back in full working order, his parents aren't being informed of any estimated full recovery time.
    Other Cases in County
     In the past four years, there have been five cases of E. coli in Perkins County, according to Dr. Clifford Colglazier.
     Three of the cases were in children who suffered Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), the same type Jackson is diagnosed with.
     E. coli in adults was foodborne or traced to feedlots, and the origination of one 13-year-old child's symptoms were never determined.
     In 2002, Troy Haenfler, who had graduated that spring from Grant High School, suffered from E. coli.
     It was determined by the Nebraska Public health Department at that time that the bacteria causing Haenfler's illness came from ground beef produced at a ConAgra Beef plant in Greeley, Colo.-part of a recall by the U.S. Agriculture Department of 19 million pounds of ground beef, which at that time was the second largest ground beef recall in history.
    Sending Get Well Wishes
     Messages of cheer to the patient and his family can be delivered via a cheer card directly to Children's Hospital.
     The website is Click on "Gifts and Greetings for Patients." Then click on "Send a Cheer Card to Patient."
     Get well wishes can be sent by mail to 13123 East 16th Avenue, Aurora, CO 80045.
    What is E. coli?
     E. coli is short for the medical term Escherichia coli. It is a common type of bacteria that can get into food, like beef and vegetables.
     E. coli lives inside human intestines where it helps the body break down and digest the food eaten. Unfortunately, certain strains of E. coli can get from the intestines into the blood.
     Beef can contain E. coli because the bacteria often infect cattle. It can be in meat that comes from cattle and it can be in manure used for fertilizing crops.
    Where does E. coli infection come from?
     Eating undercooked ground beef
     • Swallowing contaminated water-lake water, pool water
     • Contaminated foods-fruits or vegetables.
     • Drinking unpasteurized milk or fruit juice
     • Working with cattle
     • Petting zoos and county fairs-organisms can survive and multiply for several weeks
     The most common way to get E. coli infection is by eating contaminated food. Healthy beef and dairy cattle may carry the E. coli germ in their intestines. The meat can get contaminated during the slaughtering process. When beef is ground up, the E. coli germs get mixed throughout.
     E. coli can also be passed from person to person in nursing homes and day care centers. People infected with E. coli are very contagious.
    How to avoid E. coli
     • Wash hands carefully with soap before starting to cook
     • Cook ground beef until no pink is seen anywhere
     • Do not put cooked hamburgers on a plate where raw meat had been
     • Defrost meat in the refrigerator or microwave-don't let sit on counter
     • Keep raw meat and poultry separate from other foods. Use hot water and soap to wash cutting boards and dishes
     • Keep food refrigerated or frozen-keep hot food hot and cold food cold; refrigerate leftovers right away
     • People with diarrhea should wash their hands often with hot water and soap for at least 30 seconds
     • Always order restaurant hamburgers that are cooked so no pink shows
    Symptoms of E. coli
     • Symptoms begin about seven days after being infected
     • The first sign is severe abdominal cramps starting suddenly
     • Watery diarrhea begins, causing loss of fluids and electrolytes, leading to dehydration
     • Watery diarrhea changes to bloody diarrhea because the infection makes sores in the intestines so the stools become bloody
     • There may be a mild fever, or no fever
    Complications from E. coli infection
     • The most common complication is hemolytic uremic syndrome. People with this problem get anemia, which is low red blood cell count; thrombocytopenia, which is low platelet count; and renal failure, which is kidney damage.
     Hemolytic uremic syndrome is more common in children and can cause acute renal failure. It starts about five to 10 days after the diarrhea starts.
    Diagnosis and Treatment
     • A stool culture has to be taken in the first 48 hours after the bloody diarrhea starts.
     There is no special treatment. Drink a lot of water and watch for complications. Don't take medicine to stop diarrhea. It would keep the intestines from getting rid of the E. coli germ.




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