PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A 4-year-old girl died after being diagnosed with E. coli and a 6-year-old family friend is also sick.
Health officials are scrambling to determine how the children contracted the bacterium.
Serena Profitt died Monday at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. The family’s pastor said the Profitt family lives in Otis, Oregon, about a mile outside Lincoln City, and that she became ill in the Lincoln City area around Labor Day.
Doctors, at this point, do not know the source of the E. coli.
The pastor said the families played “in a pond in the Lebanon area, playing in a river, and they did eat at a restaurant here in the Lincoln City area. The family has said the one thing those two children did that none of the other kids did was share a sandwich at this particular restaurant.”
The pastor did not name the restaurant.
Serena went into kidney failure and had a stroke Sunday night, the pastor told KOIN 6 News. She suffered severe brain damage and died on Monday.
KOIN 6 News does not know the condition of the 6-year-old boy, who is reportedly being treated in the Tacoma area.
Statements from OHSU, Health Officials
In a statement released Tuesday, OHSU officials said, “Serena Profitt died Monday evening from complications of hemolytic uremic syndrome. Most cases of HUS occur following an infection caused by specific strains of E. coli. Serena tested positive for E. coli, but we don’t yet know which strain. A sample of has been sent to the state lab for further testing.”
The National Institute of Health, part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, said hemolytic uremic syndrome “is most common in children. It is the most common cause of acute kidney failure in children. Several large outbreaks in 1992 and 1993 were linked to undercooked hamburger meat contaminated with E. coli.”
“At this time the Lincoln County Health and Human Services Department through its Public Health Division along with the State Public Health Division are continuing to investigate an unconfirmed E coli case,” said Tim Prudhel with Lincoln County Health and Human Services in a statement.
“Teams including Communicable Disease and Environmental Health professionals from the Lincoln County Health and Human Services Department are actively investigating this case with assistance and consultation from the Oregon Health Authority,” the statement said.
KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.