What are the real life impacts of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infection?
A few families whose lives have been permanently altered by this devastating pathogen volunteered to share their stories:
- 20-year-old dance instructor Stephanie Smith ate an E. coli O157:H7-contaminated hamburger in 2007. She developed hemolytic uremic syndrome and was placed in a medically-induced coma after her HUS led to severe central nervous system impairment. While she was hospitalized with HUS, Stephanie suffered brain damage and is now a paraplegic. She continues physical and occupational therapy in her quest to one day dance again. Her story is chronicled in a Pulitzer Prize-winning article in the New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2009/1...).
- Seven-year-old Abby Fenstermaker contracted E. coli after having contact with her grandfather, who had eaten an E. coli-contaminated hamburger. Abby’s E. coli infection quickly progressed to HUS, and the 1st grader died on May 17, 2007, just 10 days after first complaining of a tummy ache—the first symptom of her E. coli infection.
- 57-year-old Linda Rivera fell ill with an E. coli infection and HUS in 2009. She was hospitalized for over a year and nearly died several times after multiple of her organs failed. Linda's rehabilitation included learning to talk and walk again. Linda passed away on July 13, 2013 due to complications related to her E. coli infection and HUS.
- Two-year-old Ashley Armstrong was one of over 200 people who became ill with E. coli infections after eating contaminated spinach in 2006. Ashley developed HUS and was hospitalized for months when her kidneys failed, causing the need for daily dialysis treatments. She faces a lifetime of dialysis and kidney transplants.