The Maquoketa, IA, Sentinal Press, today is reporting the first news since about June 8 about three children in Jackson County with E. coli infections.

While families of the three children shared their stories with friends and family on social media, public health officials in Iowa and Jackson County have said nothing since early June about the apparent outbreak. Officials have reported nothing about a source of the E. coli infections.

But The Sentinal Press reports that two-year-old Cal Notz returned home July 13 after spending almost eight weeks in Children’s Hospital in Iowa City for a rare strain of E. coli. He is the last of the three to leave the hospital.

Cal Notz was released from the hospital to his parents, Matt and Nichole Notz, and welcomed home by his brothers Bradyn, 11, and Asher, 6, and family friends and relatives with homemade signs and balloons.

Cal said his homecoming was “a great day.” He was admitted on May 23 for a medical flight to include a medically induced coma for several days and weeks of kidney dialysis. A stroke, multiple seizures, and other setbacks followed.

The Stead Family Children’s Hospital at the University of Iowa admitted three children with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), the kidney disease associated with Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia (STEC) infections.

Eighteen-month-old Briella Davis returned home June 10, and the third child, Shane Howell, left the hospital on June 18. Both are recovering well at their homes.

It is Cal’s recovery that his family sees as “nothing short of miraculous.”
His mother says his journey is more of a marathon than a sprint.

“Cal has made vast improvements, but he still has a long way to go,” Nichole told the local newspaper. “He’ll receive occupational, physical, and speech therapy locally and will go back to Iowa City for regular checkups with his nephrology and neurology teams. He came home with a nasogastric tube for feedings because he’s not eating well, possibly due to the dialysis he received or possibly from swelling in his throat caused by the long amount of time ventilator use when he was in an induced coma.”

His parents are focusing on getting into a routine for Cal’s care after receiving training on his needs for nutrition and many medications.

“He doesn’t have his voice back yet,” Nichole said. “They told us that his mind and body are more like a 1-year-old’s instead of a 2-year-old’s. We’ve pulled out some older toys for him, and we’ll keep watching and working with him. Cal’s needs are going to be a lot for a while. As far as we’ve come, we still have a way to go,” she told the newspaper.

The severity of HUS impacted Cal’s kidneys, but Nichole said they learned from medical staff that they wouldn’t know how severe the damage was or if he has a chronic kidney issue until Cal is about ten years old. But they will cross that bridge when they come to it, she said.

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