E. coli O157 death of Minnesota 4-year-old seen as isolated case

The death of a 4-year-old Pelican Rapids girl, who fell ill after becoming infected with a dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria, was an isolated case, a health official said Monday.

Sophia Amy Odens started having flu-like symptoms Feb. 5, and she was hospitalized the next day in Detroit Lakes, according to her obituary, which ran Sunday in The Forum.

Odens was soon transferred to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, and tests revealed she was infected with the O157:H7 strain of E. coli. The strain brought on hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which caused her kidneys to shut down, the obituary said.

On Feb. 7, she was flown to Sanford Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D., and she underwent multiple surgeries and dialysis. She died Feb. 11, a day after her fourth birthday, her obituary said.

Doug Schultz, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Health, said his agency was aware of Odens’ death and that no other related cases had been reported. Schultz did not know how the girl became infected. E. coli can be spread through contaminated food or water, or contact with people or animals.