E. coli victim downgraded to critical


One of the Central Florida children suffering from a bacterial infection attacking the kidneys has been downgraded from stable to critical condition, while at another hospital two grandparents were released.

The state Department of Health, meanwhile, is investigating an outbreak of hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, tied to a type of Escherichia coli, or E. coli, bacteria. The cases have in common contact with animals during recent trips to the Central Florida Fair or Florida Strawberry Festival.

Health officials in Pasco County were awaiting autopsy results in the mysterious death Wednesday of a 12-year-old girl from Wesley Chapel. The girl had attended the Florida Strawberry Festival, said Dr. Marc Yacht, director of the Pasco County Health Department.

Pasco also had a confirmed case of HUS, but the 8-year-old girl was not hospitalized and is recovering. It was not clear whether she had attended either fair, Yacht said.

Of the five children being treated at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children & Women in Orlando, two were listed as stable, one as serious and two as critical, spokeswoman Sabrina Williams said. Only one had been listed as critical a day before.

Three children also suffering from HUS, at Florida Hospital Orlando, were listed in good condition Sunday, while two remained critical, spokeswoman Melanie Trivento said. Two grandparents related to separate cases were discharged, Trivento said. Another adult with HUS was listed in serious condition, she said.