Complications of an E. coli O157:H7 infection include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Dehydration
  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) (develops in 5-15% of cases, and has a mortality rate between 3-7%)
  • Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP)
  • Intussusception
  • Pancreatitis
  • Severe colitis (inflammation of the colon)
  • Chronic kidney failure
  • Hypertension
  • Hematuria (blood in urine)
  • Proteinuria (protein in urine)
  • Intestinal strictures (narrowing of intestine)
  • Intestinal perforations (penetration of intestine, fluid can flow out)

Most complications are a result of Shiga toxins that are produced by the E. coli bacteria.

Although HUS and TTP are separate conditions, they can develop simultaneously in a patient with an E. coli O157:H7 infection. With TTP-HUS, fibrin-coated platelets create blood clots (thombi) in the microvascular system. Red blood cells are shredded by the fibrin. The result is a severe reduction of red blood cells and platelets.

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