On Monday, health officials confirmed the death of a 6-year-old Massachusetts boy was due to E. coli and though they believed it was an isolated case, were still investigating how he became ill from the bacteria.
“There are not any other reported cases at this time. We don’t consider this to be an active outbreak,” said Worcester Public Health Director Derek Brindisi, noting a public health nurse will retrace what foods the boy consumed, where he traveled and to what animals and water sources he had been exposed. “We will try to get a clear picture of how he became ill.”
Owen Carrignan, had passed away on Saturday after suffering from kidney failure, called hemolytic-uremic syndrome, a disease associated with E. coli infection.
Shawn Carrignan, Owen’s father, was left in disbelief over the sudden loss of his healthy son. “He went from playing a soccer game one Saturday and in less than a week he’s gone, the healthiest kid in the world,” he said.
Shawn, who says he is “batting” his brain to figure out how his son was infected with the E. coli bacteria, said after a May19th soccer match he went to a friends house were he had a hot dog, but two other boys that ate the hot dogs did not become sick. He said that then for the rest of the weekend he ate the same food as his sisters and step-siblings but none of them never got sick either.
The distraught father says on Sunday, Owen started to complain of a stomach ache and took a rare nap, and came home from school on Monday feeling and looking very lethargic. On Tuesday when his condition didn’t improve they took him to the hospital were he was not able to recover from the sickness.
“He was just the sweetest kid. Everyone in town loved him,” his dad said. “He would hug his sisters at night before he went to bed.”
Officials say that the strain of E.coli found in Owens system is most linked to ground beef, but he could have contacted it from a multitude of sources such as “cross-contamination or exposure to another animal or person.” They also indicated that Owen could have ingested the bacteria weeks earlier and it incubated in his system and were trying to trace back his diet for the entire month of May.