Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)—incidence and etiologies at a regional Children's Hospital in 2001-2006

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Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a serious health concern in children. HUS has primarily been linked to Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections, but non-O157 strains are gaining attention. Hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, and acute renal failure are the characteristics of the syndrome. This study investigated the incidence of HUS at a regional Children's Hospital between 2001 and 2006 by retrospective review. Cases of HUS were investigated for outcomes based on stool culture and an association of acute pancreatitis. A total of 44 cases were identified, of which 57% were female and 43% were male, with an age distribution of 13 months to 17 years and a median age of 3.44 years. Data revealed 13 cases in 2006 compared to two cases in 2001, with 84% of all illnesses occurring in the summer and fall seasons. The median duration of thrombocytopenia was eight days and 50% of all cases required dialysis. E. coli O157:H7 was the predominant pathogen; however, 53% of the cases had unknown etiology. This data may suggest a growing number of cases from 2001 to 2006 and a role for agents other than E. coli O157:H7. E. coli O157:H7 caused longer intensive care unit (ICU) stay. No association between HUS and acute pancreatitis was found.

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