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Days After a Strain of E. Coli Killed His Sister, a 5-Year-Old Is Fighting for His Life

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Joseph and Tyffani Maresh are living every parents’ worst nightmare: both of their young children contracted E. Coli, and their three-year-old daughter died from complications. Their five-year-old son is still battling, but he’s in very serious condition with a long road ahead.

On July 9th, Kade Maresh began having non-stop bloody stool and vomiting. The next day, his sister, Kallan, came down with the same symptoms. After several ER visits, the children were admitted to the hospital in acute kidney failure that was caused by the shiga toxin-producing bacteria. Both children had developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of E. Coli.

Unfortunately, the toxin from the E. Coli bacteria not only attacked Kallan’s kidneys but also her neurological system.

Her brain and heart were damaged beyond repair, and consequently died on July 16. Tyffani wrote in a post on the family’s Caring Bridge page, “Today was a hard hard day saying goodbye to our sweet angel. We were able to give Kallan a bath and put her favorite jammies on her. We got to hold her free of tubes and snuggle and kiss her. She is the most amazing little girl in the world. Our hearts are aching with the deepest sadness.”

Kade has received several blood transfusions and is on dialysis to aid his failing kidneys. He’s also had a feeding tube placed to help his body get vital nutrients. In their latest update on Caring Bridge, Kade’s parents said that while he has shown “some sass in his personality,” the little boy is still experiencing pain and nausea.

Officials aren’t sure where the children contracted the E. Coli, although animals at a petting zoo the children recently visited are no longer on display out of an abundance of caution. The children also could have been exposed to the bacteria via contaminated food or swimming pools. County health officials will hopefully be able to establish the cause after lab tests come back next week.

A GoFund Me account has been established to help the family with their expenses, and has already raised more than three times the original goal.

(Image: Caring Bridge)