Dan Kruse started to feel weak one day while hanging out with his friends in a park. The next day, the eighth-grader woke up completely jaundiced -- the whites of his eyes were yellow -- and he urinated blood.
Deeply concerned, his mother took him to the doctor, who told him to go to the hospital immediately. Doctors determined he had a severe form of food poisoning that made his kidneys shut down in a condition known as hemolytic uremic syndrome, caused by the bacteria E. coli. A priest gave him last rites, and doctors said he would most likely spend the rest of his life on kidney dialysis. "I didn't go to the bathroom at all for seven to nine days because of my kidneys shutting down," said Kruse, now a Web developer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "I definitely almost died."
But with the help of an experimental treatment involving medicine "like a fine grain sand" that he ate six times a day, Kruse began to improve, and made a full recovery without dialysis. Food poisoning from strains of E. coli is less common in the United States than salmonella, a bacteria that has caused more than 1,000 infections in a recent outbreak since April, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tomatoes have been implicated in this outbreak, but many other foods, such as raw meat and poultry, can spread salmonella and other kinds of bacteria.
Food borne illnesses result in more than 300,000 hospitalizations in the United States every year, according to the CDC. About 76 million cases of food borne disease occur annually in the United States, the CDC said.
Salmonella and E. coli present themselves in such similar ways that doctors can't tell which is which without testing a stool sample. Learn more about the differences between salmonella and E. coli Read full article »