Brooklyn Hoksbergen, 3, of Lynden, WA, died Sept. 5 from an E. coli infection at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Her father, Rob Hoksbergen, said the family doesn’t know how or where she became ill and that they are working with the Whatcom County Health Department to find a potential source of her illness.

Brooklyn Hoksbergen
Brooklyn was the youngest child of Robert and Jennifer Hoksbergen of Lynden, who have three older daughters. None of the rest of the family reported being ill. Her funeral is scheduled for this Friday, Sept. 12, at 11:30 a.m. at North County Christ the King Church in Lynden. A 4-year-old Oregon girl died Monday in Portland, OR, from medical complications linked to an E. coli infection. Serena Profitt of Otis, OR, died after becoming ill about Aug. 29. A Profitt family friend, Brad Sutton, 5, of Tacoma, WA, has been in Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, where his situation was described as “critical” and he was reportedly on dialysis because of kidney failure. The Washington State Department of Health has said the Profitt and Sutton cases are not related to the Hoksbergen one. E. coli infection comes from eating food containing the bacteria, which live in the intestines of healthy cattle. Consuming rare or inadequately cooked ground beef is a common way of getting an E. coli infection, although other sources include drinking unpasteurized milk, drinking or swimming in water contaminated with sewage, or eating unwashed fruits or vegetables fertilized with cow manure. Also, person-to-person transmission of E. coli can occur if infected persons do not wash their hands after using the toilet or after changing the diapers of infected babies. The symptoms of E. coli infection typically include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Sometimes there is fever, although it is not usually high. Most people with E. coli infections get better within 5-7 days, but about 5-10 percent of them will develop severe or life-threatening complications such as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Those who develop HUS need to be hospitalized because their kidneys may stop working and they may develop other serious problems. Most people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some could suffer permanent damage or die, particularly young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.