Demonstrating once again that dangerous E. coli like O157:H7 exist in all ruminants, 7-year-old April Lambert of Beckley, West Virginia underwent a horrific yet typical encounter with E. coli as her kidneys shut down and doctors scrambled to save her life.
The Charleston Daily Mail reports that April’s father, Red, had shot a deer the Friday after Thanksgiving and she helped him skin it and prepare bigger cuts to send off to a local butcher, but Red cut the tenderloin himself.
April placed the pieces of meat into freezer bags, handling the meat with her hands.
The family and the doctors concluded that April likely hadn’t washed her hands afterward as well as she could have. In fact, April recalls she may have rinsed them and not used soap.
Dr. Amana Nasir, a West Virginia University pediatric gastroenterologist who was on the team that treated April in Charleston said she and fellow doctors have treated four similar cases traced to handling of deer meat, adding,
"Deer harbor infection – it’s estimated that 17 percent of the whitetail population harbors E.coli.”
The natural reservoirs for E. coli O157:H7 and other verotoxigenic E. coli is the intestines of all ruminants, including cattle — grass or grain-fed — sheep, goats, deer and elk.