Woman, 64, almost killed by Plymouth E.coli outbreak
A WOMAN struck down by E. coli said she feared the bug would kill her.
Joan Hunt has been left with only 35 per cent kidney function after developing the potentially deadly complication HUS.
The 64 year old, of Brixton, spent three weeks in hospital and needed treatment in intensive care due to the infection.
She told her story to raise awareness of symptoms and thank the hospital team who saved her life.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
She is recovering after becoming dangerously ill in August – the month of a reported Plymouth E. coli outbreak believed to be linked to crab meat.
Joan does not know the source of her poisoning as she had not eaten crab. None of her family became sick.
She lives with husband George, joint owner of Warrens car sales, daughter Georgina, son Jonathan and their partners.
Joan, a keen tennis and golf player, said it was the biggest shock of her life.
"For someone living an active life, to be knocked back like that opens your eyes. You don't take things for granted. It's a thin line.
"I felt I was going to die. I wasn't in control of my body, my body was controlling me. It was frightening.
"People need to be aware of the symptoms and how serious it can be."
Joan said she fell ill at the beginning of August with bloody diarrhoea and vomiting.
Her GP gave her antibiotics and referred her for a colonoscopy at Derriford Hospital.
When symptoms persisted the following day, Joan went to Derriford's emergency department.
At first she was treated for a bowel inflammation with antibiotics.
A week later she was diagnosed with E. coli and HUS (haemolytic uraemic syndrome), which occurs when infection in the digestive system produces toxic substances which enter the bloodstream and cause kidney disease.
She was treated in intensive care, with 60 pints of platelets pumped through her system over five days.
Afterwards she developed pneumonia and needed treatment for fluid retention and rocketing high blood pressure.
She described her doctor, Dr Peter Rowe, and his team as "wonderful".
"The treatment saved my life," she said.
Joan's kidney function is being closely monitored and she needs daily blood pressure, cholesterol and iron tablets.
She started playing tennis again last months and hopes to resume golf in the new year.
As reported in The Herald earlier this month, there is an ongoing investigation into an E. coli outbreak in Plymouth with a possible link to an unapproved crab supplier.
Investigators took action after nine cases emerged in August. There have been no further reports of illness linked to crab since.
Other E. coli outbreaks this year have been linked to soil stuck on leeks and potatoes in the UK, and raw vegetables in Germany.
E. coli is the abbreviated name of bacteria Escherichia coli.
The most common strain associated with human illness is often found in the gut of farm animals.
People become infected by eating infected food, mainly meat, unpasteurised milk and cheese, contact with infected animals, or contact with other people who have the illness, through inadequate hand washing after using the toilet and/or before food-handling.
People with an E. coli infection can suffer from bloody diarrhoea, stomach cramps and fever.