A seventh child in central Florida has contracted a life-threatening kidney infection after visiting a petting zoo in Orlando. Five of the seven children were hospitalized in critical condition, including one on dialysis, the Orlando Sentinel reported for Thursday editions. Another had been upgraded to stable condition, said Dr. Mehul Dixit, who is treating some of the children at Florida Hospital Orlando.
One child was treated and released from Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children & Women several weeks ago.
The potentially dangerous kidney condition — hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS — is a rare complication arising from an initial infection most commonly associated with E. coli, a bacterium found in undercooked beef or contaminated food.
Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, lethargy, anemia and decreased urine output are all signs of kidney failure.
The hospitalized children all touched animals recently at area fairs, including the Central Florida Fair in Orlando and the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City. They might have been exposed to the bacteria through the animals’ feces, officials said.