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Florida Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome Investigation Widens to 21

Recombinomics Commentary
March 28, 2005

>>A girl's death is being investigated for possible links to an outbreak of E. coli bacterial infections among people who attended one of two fairs that included petting zoos, the state's top health official said Monday.
Florida Health Secretary John Agwunobi said there are 14 confirmed cases of people becoming ill after attending the Strawberry Festival in Plant City or the Central Florida Fair in Orlando in early March.......

Along with the 14 confirmed cases, state health officials are investigating seven others around the state, including one involving the death of a girl in Pasco County, he said.

He said state officials were awaiting a medical examiner's report on the girl. <<

Although E coli 0157:H7 is most often associated with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) in children, the bacteria was not detected in most of the HUS victims.  Moreover, the cause of death of the fatal case of Kayla Nicole Sutter from Wesley Chapel, is not known.  The Weightman Middle School student attended the Strawberry Festival before developing a 103 degree fever and collapsing and dying at home on March 23.

The number of cases under investigation has grown to 21, and an etiological agent common to all or most cases has yet to be identified.  Several of the cases were older relatives of the children, and not all relatives attended the festival.  However, many of the adults have now been released, and all of the patients in critical condition are children under the age of ten.

The petting zoos at the two festivals remain the focus of the investigation, but undercooked foods or other sources linked to the animals at the petting zoos are still being investigated.

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