Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Scientists can't find clear source for E. coli that killed young girl, sickened her brother

Her brother was also sickened, but survived.

State scientists could not figure out the source of an E. coli infection that killed a young Minnesota girl and nearly killed her brother.

The Minnesota Department of Health said Monday epidemiologists completed their investigation into the E. coli contraction from July. 

“Unfortunately, we were not able to identify the source of the children’s infections,” said MDH State Public Health Veterinarian Joni Scheftel in the announcement.

Kallan Maresh, 3 years old, and her brother Kade Maresh contracted the E. coli bacteria last month. The Maple Lake children had non-stop bloody diarrhea and vomiting, the family's CaringBridge says, and they were rushed to the hospital. 

Kallan Maresh died there, with the toxin from the bacteria causing kidney failure and damaging her neurological system.

Kade Maresh also had kidney failure. After days of dialysis he was able to go home in late July – though he's still recovering from the devastating infection, the CaringBridge says, with his kidneys now working at about 50 percent.

What about the petting zoo?

The children had a strain of E. coli that produces the Shiga toxin – it's one of the more common types of E. coli outbreak infections, and can be picked up from food and animals (even healthy ones).

After the Maresh kids became ill, a petting zoo the family had visited took its animals off display, wanting to make sure the animals at the farm were not the cause of the E. coli. 

The Department of Health's investigation however found no connection between that petting zoo and the infections, "despite extensive testing of the animals," Scheftel said.

The department said investigators looked at not only contact with farm animals, but a host of other potential sources: foods like ground beef, leafy greens and raw milk; any swimming they did; or passage from another human, like through a family member or at a daycare.

But they couldn't pin down any source, the department said.

There haven't been any additional cases of this E. coli strain reported, though investigators will keep an eye out for more infections.

The best way to prevent getting the Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli: prevention. Cook meat to the right temp, wash raw fruits and veggies before eating, and wash your hands before eating, after using the bathroom, and after touching animals or the environment.

"We ache, we hurt, we are broken. We long for her presence, one more kiss, one more hug, one more snuggle, one more giggle, one more beautiful smile," the Maresh family wrote on CaringBridge on Aug. 5. "We take one day at a time and we do our best for Kade. He is a strong, sweet boy and he too sure misses his little sister."

A GoFundMe set up for the family has raised more than $73,000 so far.

Next Up

Chris Finch

Hawks bury Timberwolves in 3-point barrage

Without D'Angelo Russell, the Wolves couldn't keep up with the Hawks.

P.J. Fleck, Gophers football

Kirk Ciarocca returning to Gophers as offensive coordinator

The architect of the 2019 offense will look to revive the Gophers.

Klobuchar - MTP - NBC screengrab

Klobuchar says Congress should pass law to protect abortion rights

Her comments came as the Supreme Court appears poised to weaken — or gut — Roe v. Wade

MPD missing Heard - crop 1_

Police ask for public's help finding Mpls. woman missing a week

The 36-year-old hasn't been seen or heard from recently.

unsplash cold winter breath dark

Hello, winter: List of the coldest wind chills in MN Monday morning

The state went from a relatively mild start of the season, to downright frigid wind chills.

deer

1 CWD-positive deer in Brainerd Lakes area, so surveillance will continue

The CWD monitoring measures were supposed to end after this year.

unsplash - visitor patient doctor hospital emergency - crop

MN program will train, hire 1,000 nursing assistants for long-term care

The facilities are facing a severe staffing shortage.

Minnesota State Fair - main gate day 2021

Minnesota State Fair reestablishes a police department

The fair had been contracting with the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office.

teacher, covid, masks, school

Minnetonka to consider removing middle school mask requirement

The school board has been impressed by vaccination rates among middle school students.

snow, plow

Friday winter storm could hit Twin Cities, southern Minnesota

Meteorologist Sven Sundgaard is already monitoring the forecast.

Sauk Rapids Middle School street view, Minnesota - November 2018_

Teen student arrested for threats toward MN middle school

The Sauk Rapids middle school and high school were closed Monday.

_DSC0318

Rally for trans child outed during Hastings school board race draws big crowd

Hastings has been in the spotlight since the child's family was featured in a CNN story.

Related

flickr-ground-beef-usda

E. coli outbreak sickens more than 150, including in MN

Federal officials are still trying to determine the source.

Lake Nokomis main beach

69 now sickened in E. Coli outbreak at Lake Nokomis

The late July, early August outbreak has impacted dozens.

Lettuce tainted with E. coli sickens 2 in Minnesota

At least two Minnesotans were hospitalized after eating romaine lettuce tainted with E. coli. At least 60 people were sickened nationwide. Two suffered kidney failure.

Minnesota State Fair

E. coli outbreak traced back to Minnesota State Fair

11 Minnesotans have been confirmed to have had the infection.

spinach-g4e8ec701f_1280

Two Minnesotans sickened in E. coli outbreak linked to spinach

The Minnesota Department of Health has issued a warning.

Flickr - beach water

E. coli closes Ramsey County swimming beach

Routine testing found levels above recommended standards.