HUS Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of HUS usually occur between three to ten days after a gastrointestinal infection, most frequently associated with infection by the E. coli bacteria O157:H7, the same one that caused the outbreak in Florida. Diagnosis of HUS is made clinically and with various laboratory testing, and although Dr. Muszynski states that it is, "not 'curable' per se. Supportive therapy is the mainstay, including control of body fluid imbalances, hypertension, plus transfusion for anemia. Dialysis is often required for the kidney failure. Seizures and other neurological complications require specific treatment. Such support is continued until the disease has run its course. Ironically, antibiotics do not appear to significantly alter the outcome, and they are not recommended." Chances of a HUS relapse, albeit rare, can occur in children who have been previously diagnosed with the condition.
As of June 2005, six children who attended the various fairs throughout Central Florida and contracted the E.coli bacteria from the petting zoos remained hospitalized around Central Florida. Of these six children, two have decreased renal function, but thankfully, do not require dialysis. Many parents are now in litigation against the owners of Ag-Venture Farms, who have remained publicly silent since the outbreak.