E. coli cases hit home for families
April 5, 2005
The Calgary Herald
According to this story, a recent E. coli outbreak linked to petting zoos in
Florida brings back haunting memories for Calgary mother Andrea
Bourget. After contracting a deadly strain of the bacteria in August of last year,
Bourget's then 15-month-old son Matthew spent weeks in hospital undergoing
surgeries and treatments.
Bourget, whose son spent six weeks in the hospital, was quoted as saying,
"It was very serious and very scary," adding that she suspects her son was
exposed to the serious strain of E. coli bacteria called O157:H7, which can
lead to the sometimes deadly Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome at a local petting
zoo, but has no proof.
Dr. Julian Midgley, who specializes in kidney disease at Calgary's Alberta
Children's Hospital, was cited as saying in the 10 years he's been at the
hospital he's seen an average of 10 cases of HUS in a year, with only one
death, adding, "Clearly, very small children who can't stop putting things
in their mouth shouldn't be petting animals. Older children need to make
sure they wash their hands and are careful for what they touch."
Kelly Docherty, whose daughter Averey suffered from HUS in 2001, came from
exposure to red meat and not a petting zoo, was quoted as saying, "The
experience for me was absolutely life altering," and that during Averey's
nearly five-week hospital stay she experienced renal failure, dialysis,
blood transfusions, her bowels shutting down, a fungal infection in her
kidneys and painful bloodwork for weeks after her release.
The now five-year old Averey has a good bill of health but still suffers
from bowel problems and must be closely monitored during periods of change
in the kidneys -- puberty, pregnancy and menopause.
After testing stool samples, it was determined the E. coli came from red
meat, which mystified her parents as they had not fed their daughter any.