A five-year-old boy is fighting for his life after contracting a strain of E. coli that also sadly killed his younger sister. Fears the source of bacteria was from a petting zoo.

Kade and Kallan Maresh from Minnesota, illness was believed to be caused by a shiga toxin-producing bacteria on July 9, eventually sending them into acute kidney failure, reports Star Tribune.

State health officials are investigating the source for the E. coli that eventually led to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of the bacterial infection.

On their CaringBridge site, parents Joseph and Tyffani Maresh, said the toxin from the bacteria attacked their 3-year-old daughter’s kidneys and her neurological system. “Her brain and heart were being damaged,” the family said. “Our sweet sweet little girl lost the battle. … Kade is still fighting.” Kallan would have turned 4 next month.

“We were able to give Kallan a bath and put her favorite jammies on her,” her parents wrote in a journal entry on Sunday. “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.”

In an “abundance of precaution,” the animals at a petting zoo the children recently visited were taken off display, she said.

But the children could have been infected with E. coli from any number of other sources that health officials are investigating, she said.

Besides petting zoos, E. coli can be found in contaminated meat or produce, swimming pools or lakes contaminated with faeces.

Health officials may be able to zero in on the source by next week once lab results are in, Scheftel said. So far, no other similar cases have been reported, she said.

The family said their son has had blood transfusions and is on kidney dialysis. “He has a long road to recovery and we hope and pray the toxins stay away from his brain and heart and other organ systems,” the family said.

Although health officials are in the early stages of their investigation, Scheftel said the children’s infection was what’s called an STEC, a group of E. coli that produces a toxin.

The family said on CaringBridge that the two children began suffering from nonstop bloody diarrhea and vomiting a week earlier. After several visits to the emergency room, the two were rushed by ambulance to Children’s Hospital at the University of Minnesota.

A gofundme page has raised more than $61,000 to help the family with medical expenses.

We hope little Kade keeps fighting and makes a full recovery. So heartbreaking for this family.

Share your comments below

Image via gofundme

  • oh that is so incredibly scary! they were only trying to make happy memories and give their kids a good experience and this is what they get? no this isn’t right at all! that poor family!


  • Awful story. What a terrible situation for them to have to deal with, so unfair.


  • The poor parents must be going through hell! Hope the boy is ok,


  • Such a tragedy which took one life and another is still at risk.
    Hopefully they find the source very quickly to stop others getting ill too.
    I thought USA Health Insurance would have covered their expenses. I have a friend from school who now lives in USA. Apparently their Health Insurance is very expensive, far more expensive than Aust.


  • Get well soon little man. Such awful bad luck for the family.


  • So terribly heartbreaking for this family.


  • My heart breaks for this family. What a terrible tragedy. Very hard to deal with.


  • Such devastating news. So sorry for your loss of your beautiful daughter Kallan. Praying that Kade is able to make it through. Stay strong. Sending prayers and hugs.


  • Aw bless, this is heartbreaking !
    So sad that Kallan lost her live in the battle against this bacteria. Hope and pray Kade’s life will be saved !!


  • oh my goodness, that is terrible – what a sad tragedy – wishing their little boy all the best for his recovery


  • Hi im from Australia. So sorry for your loss. My daughter had HUS 25 years ago. She was on dialysis for over a month and was seriously ill. Luckily she pulled through and is healthy and now a mum. I will pray for your son. This disease is a 1 in a million chance of getting it. Its rare. Sending love to your family xxx


  • So sorry to hear your story – hope your little boy doesn’t suffer the same fate as his sister.


  • So sorry for the loss of your little girl,wishing Kade all the best with his health.


  • That’s horrible I hope their son pulls through with no long term damage.


  • So difficult to find out where exactly they got it. So unfortunate. Poor little girl! :-( I hope the brother will make it.


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