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Iowa children stricken with E. coli

Olivia Garrett of the Telegraph Herald reports:

MAQUOKETA, Iowa — Several Maquoketa children are receiving care at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City after developing serious complications from E. coli.

But local health officials have not yet identified the source.

Multiple Maquoketa children developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, prompting the treatment in Iowa City. HUS is a serious complication that can be caused by shiga toxin-producing E. coli, also known as STEC.

The Jackson County Health Department, through Genesis VNA, is working to determine what might have caused the outbreak. Community Health Manager Michele Cullen said Monday that this process involves contact tracing, but a source has not yet been identified.

Two-year-old Calvin “Cal” Notz is one of the children suffering from the rare and serious illness.

His mother, Nichole Notz, said it started on May 21, when Cal was tired and wouldn’t eat. By May 23, more concerning symptoms had emerged, including bloody and loose stools.

“That’s when we knew it was something more than just a little bug,” Notz said.

Cal’s parents took him to urgent care, where he was quickly sent to the hospital. On May 25, Cal was transferred to the Iowa City hospital for more specialized care. Cal suffered from seizures and a stroke and was placed in a medically induced coma, Notz said.

“He is improving at this point now,” Notz said Monday. “He is coming off the coma. … Today, he is doing well.”

According to the Blue Mountain Eagle:

Members of the Maquoketa community gathered June 2 at the Grove Street Park for a prayer vigil to support Cal Notz and Briella Davis, two children stricken with a rare kidney illness caused by E. coli.

Tara Notz, the sister-in-law of Cal’s parents Matt and Nichole Notz, welcomed people and thanked everyone on behalf of the family for their prayers and support and for attending the vigil, which included singing and prayers led by Pastor Nathan Combs of Prairie Creek Church.

“We want people to know our hearts are so full,” Nichole Notz said during a phone call after the vigil. “We are feeling everyone’s love, prayers and well-wishes. We love Maquoketa and being back in our home town. The support we’ve felt just confirms we are supposed to be here. We are so blessed.” 

Maggie Ward and Caleb Davis, Briella’s parents, also expressed their thanks to the community for its support.

“It has been so heartwarming. We appreciate all the messages and offers to help in any way,” Ward said.

Since the vigil, a third child, Shane Howell, also has been diagnosed with the same illness. All three children are being treated at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

According to Nancy Mayfield of the Maquoketa Sentinel-Press:

Jessi Howell’s motherly instincts kicked in when she noticed her 12-year-old son Shane wasn’t acting quite like himself.

 “I would like to share with everyone to never second guess their instincts,” she said to the Sentinel-Press via Messenger Friday. Shane is one of three Maquoketa children hospitalized at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital with complications from a rare strain of E. coli.

“We knew something wasn’t right. Shane doesn’t like to complain about anything and doesn’t like going to doctors for even simple routine visits. When he stopped being his normal 12-year-old self and didn’t have a football in his hands, we knew it was bad, but we never could have dreamed of just how bad it was about to get,” she said.

His parents quickly got him medical attention. Shane is currently on dialysis as he battles Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), a rare complication that can occur with a shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infection. Briella Davis, 18 months, and Cal Notz, 2, both from Maquoketa, are also at the children’s hospital battling the same illness.

The parents of the three hospitalized children have been keeping friends and family updated through Facebook posts, from which they gave the Sentinel-Press permission to share information. They also have shared information with the newspaper via texts, phone calls and messenger.

Briella is progressing well, and her dialysis stopped earlier this week, said her mother, Maggie Ward, via text late Friday afternoon.

“She just got moved out of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit to inpatient a few hours ago,” she wrote.

Howell reported Friday that Shane was still on dialysis and was able to take a small walk and about five laps around the children’s unit in a wheelchair. On Saturday morning she said she expected him to be moved from intensive care later in the day.

Cal’s condition is more serious, and he was in a medically induced coma due to seizures and receiving dialysis, his mother, Nichole Notz, reported. On Saturday morning, the family reported on the Facebook page Prayers for Cal that he had had a stable night with no seizures.

All three families are thankful for the community support and prayers, the mothers said.

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