According to the FDA, as of July 10, the CDC reports that 76 persons from 31 states have been infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli 0157:H7. Thirty-five persons have been hospitalized, 11 with a severe complication called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.

Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) is a severe, life-threatening complication that occurs in about 10% of those infected with E. coli O157:H7 or other Shiga toxin (Stx) producing E. coli (E. coli). HUS was first described in 1955, but was not known to be secondary to E. coli infections until 1982. It is now recognized as the most common cause of acute kidney failure in infants and young children. Adolescents and adults are also susceptible, as are the elderly who often succumb to the disease.
I spent the last 24 hours traveling from Seattle to Atlanta, Atlanta to Columbus, and Columbus to Charlotte – home Wednesday.

I spoke to one family whose 55-year-old mother, who will be released from the hospital later this week, after being confined since early May. She has had a portion of her large intestine removed and was only recently removed from dialysis. She now faces a lifetime of complications and the loss of health insurance if she is unable to return to work as a special education teacher by Labor Day.

I spent time today with a wonderful family whose 4-year-old suffered severe HUS – three weeks of dialysis, CNS involvement (seizures) and months of hospitalization and Rehab. For any parent, you can imagine the nightmare.

When you meet the people, the numbers have meaning. Perhaps, the heads of FSIS and FDA should travel with me?