TACOMA (AP) — A second Northwest child has died after contracting an E. coli infection and a 5-year-old boy being treated for E. coli complications remains in critical condition but is reported steadily improving in a Tacoma hospital, authorities said Wednesday.
Health officials and relatives say all three children tested positive for E. coli bacteria.
Brooklyn Hoksbergen, 3, of Lynden in northwest Washington, died Sept. 5 in a Seattle hospital. Whatcom County Health Department health officer Dr. Greg Stern said Wednesday she tested positive for a strain of E. coli known as O157. Additional tests on the bacteria sample are pending.
Stern said he knows of no link between her case and any other cases.
The cases of the hospitalized boy and a 4-year-old Oregon girl who died Monday are believed to be linked. Officials in Lincoln County, Oregon, have scheduled a Thursday news conference to discuss their E. coli investigation. Relatives say the boy and girl fell ill after both attended the same Labor Day weekend gathering in Lincoln County on the Oregon coast.
Oregon state health officials are also investigating.
Brad Sutton is being treated at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma. He was a friend and playmate of 4-year-old Serena Profitt of Otis, Oregon. She died Monday evening at a Portland hospital.
The boy’s mother, Elizabeth Sutton, told The Oregonian that her son was infected with E. coli O157:H7. Serena tested positive for E. coli but no strain was immediately identified, a spokeswoman for Oregon Health & Science University in Portland said earlier.
Brad and Serena shared a turkey sandwich at an Oregon restaurant, his mother said. The two also reportedly swam in a pond together.
Brooklyn Hoksbergen was admitted Sept. 3 to Seattle Children’s Hospital, Whatcom County’s Stern said.
Her father, Rob Hoksbergen, told KING-TV the family doesn’t know how or where she was infected. She was the youngest of four daughters. No one else in her family is ill.
E. coli is a large family of bacteria and most strains are harmless. The most deadly strain is considered E. coli O157:H7, which became well-known in the early 1990s through a deadly outbreak associated with hamburger meat.