Epidemic Escherichia coli O157:H7 gastroenteritis and hemolytic-uremic syndrome in a Canadian Inuit community: Intestinal illness in family members as a risk factor

Peter C. Rowe, Elaine Orrbine, Malcolm Ogborn, George A. Wells, Wendy Winther, Hermy Lior, Douglas Manuel, Peter N. McLaine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate risk factors for childhood hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) and gastroenteritis during an epidemic of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection. Design: Case-control study. Setting: Remote Inuit community of Arviat in northern Canada. Participants: Of the 565 Arviat residents less than 15 years of age, 19 had HUS and 65 more had E. coli O157:H7 gastroenteritis. The 19 children with HUS were compared with 19 age- and gender-matched children with uncomplicated E. coli O157:H7 gastroenteritis, and both HUS and gastroenteritis patients were compared with 19 healthy control subjects. Interventions: Questionnaire administered face-to-face to parents of participants in the home. Main outcome measures: Rates of exposure to foods, travel, sources of water, and gastrointestinal illness in family members. Results: Patients with HUS and those with uncomplicated E. coli O157:H7 gastroenteritis differed only on measures of clinical severity. In the 7 days before the onset of gastrointestinal symptoms, children with HUS and those with uncomplicated gastroenteritis were more likely to have been exposed to a family member with diarrhea than were the healthy control subjects (odds ratio = 9 for HUS vs healthy control subjects; 95% confidence interval 2 to 43; p <0.01). Undercooked ground meat and foods traditionally consumed by the Inuit were not implicated as risk factors in E. coli O157:H7 infection. Conclusions: These findings emphasize the potential for extensive intrafamilial transmission of verotoxin-producing E. coli once infection is introduced into certain communities. (J PEDIATR 1994;124:21-6)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-26
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Volume124
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • CI
  • Confidence interval
  • HUS
  • Hemolytic-uremic syndrome
  • OR
  • Odds ratio
  • VT
  • Verotoxin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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