Hildale STEC Outbreak Turns Fatal: Total Number of Victims Unknown
More information has been made available by the Southwest Utah Public Health Department (SUPHD) about the Hildale STEC Outbreak. According to Dr. David Blodgett, a SUPHD officer, the two children contracted a Shiga Toxin-Producing form of E. coli (STEC) known as O157:H7. This strain of STEC infects about 80 to 100 Utah citizens each year (out of a population of 3 million), and is deadly in about one STEC case each year. Both deaths in the Hildale STEC Outbreak were children who were hospitalized at the time. They were part of an undisclosed number of victims in the Hildale STEC Outbreak.
According to Dr. Blodgett:
Some of the cases in this outbreak have been identified as the O157:H7 strain, characterized by bloody diarrhea and serious complications. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the families who have been affected.
According to SUPHD spokesperson David Heaton, the Hildale water supply has been cleared.
Outbreak Centered in a Largely Polygamous Community in Hildale STEC Outbreak
David Heaton confirmed the outbreak seems limited to a single neighborhood, with investigators looking at food sources and animals in the area. While not identifying the exact neighborhood, Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona, are two cities that straddle the state border. They are reputed to be the home of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a polygamous community. The leadership of the Mormon Church disavowed polygamy at least a century ago.
No source of the Hildale STEC Outbreak has been identified yet, but interviews are ongoing.
David Heaton cited privacy concerns in declining to provide the names of the victims or their families. De did confirm, however, that both children had developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, which is a potentially deadly STEC complication that can lead to kidney failure and the ongoing necessity for dialysis or kidney transplantation. About one in eight of the victims of STEC develop HUS.
STEC illness causes abdominal cramping, sever and bloody diarrhea, vomiting, fever, head and body aches, and other symptoms related to dehydration and kidney damage. Most victims will become symtomatic between one and ten days post consumption of the bacteria.
For more information about the Hildale STEC Outbreak, or to speak to a E. coli lawyer, call 1-888-335-4901.