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Child Dies After E. Coli Outbreak

July 29, 2000

MILWAUKEE (AP) _ A 3-year-old girl who was one of several people sickened from an E. coli bacteria outbreak died Friday, hospital officials said.

At least 21 people became ill with E. coli poisoning after eating at a Sizzler restaurant, according to health officials.

Brianna Kriefall of South Milwaukee died Friday morning, said Dr. Tim Rice of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Medical. The E. coli poisoning had developed into a condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which attacks red blood cells and can cause kidney failure. The girl had been undergoing kidney dialysis.

At least two other children also have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, said Dr. Kelly Henrickson, an infectious disease specialist at the hospital.

The E. coli bacteria strain believed to be the cause of the illnesses often spreads through eating undercooked contaminated meat. It can be fatal, especially for children and people with weakened immune systems.

City Health Commissioner Seth Foldy said Friday that officials were trying to determine the source of the E. coli bacteria and how it got into the Sizzler restaurant.

Fifteen children, ages 14 months to 10 years, and six adults suffered E. coli-related illnesses after eating at the Sizzler, he said, Foldy said. He said no new cases had been reported since Sunday; the first case was reported July 19.

Sizzler USA’s chief executive officer, Thomas Metzger, traveled Thursday to Milwaukee to speak with victims’ families and health officials, company spokeswoman Marina Ein said. The restaurant is closed temporarily.

The bacterium was tentatively identified as E. coli O157:H7, Foldy said. The strain causes an estimated 73,000 cases of food poisoning in the United States annually.


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