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E. coli death of Pelican Rapids girl seen as isolated case

PELICAN RAPIDS, Minn. – The death of a 4-year-old Pelican Rapids girl, who fell ill after becoming infected with a dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria, was an isolated case, a health official said Monday.

Sophia Amy Odens started having flu-like symptoms Feb. 5, and she was hospitalized the next day in Detroit Lakes, according to an obituary Sunday in The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.

Odens was soon transferred to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, and tests revealed she was infected with the O157:H7 strain of E. coli. The strain brought on hemolytic uremic syndrome, which caused her kidneys to shut down, the obituary said.

On Feb. 7, she was flown to Sanford Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D., and she underwent multiple surgeries and dialysis. She died Feb. 11, her obituary said.

Doug Schultz, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Health, said his agency was aware of Odens’ death and that no other related cases had been reported. Schultz did not know how the girl became infected. E. coli can be spread through contaminated food or water, or contact with people or animals.

In 2012, Minnesota had 124 confirmed infections of E. coli O157:H7. That year, 13 cases of HUS caused by the same strain were reported; no one died as a result.

Becca Clemens
After graduating high school in 2004, I attended Central Lakes College in Staples, MN for 2 years where I got a diploma in Communication Art and Design. I then transfered up to Bemidji State University in, you guessed it, Bemidji, MN. In the spring of 2009, I graduated from BSU. Then in the fall of 2009 I got a job at Echo Publishing, a sister company to the Brainerd Dispatch.