Buitoni pizzas contaminated with E. coli bacteria: Parents of victim children break the silence

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On March 18, Buitoni recalled its Fraich’Up pizzas after being informed of the presence of Escheria coli in the dough. Sixty victims of the bacterium have been identified, two died. Families organize themselves.

“Buitoni is the brand I have always taken! Between defiance and anger, Audrey will not be defeated. Now she activates the digital space to make known the typical hemolytic and uremic syndrome through the Facebook group “SHU – Sortons du Silence”. HUS, a rare disease that affects less than 160 people a year in France, mostly children. Including Noah, 3 years old.

Audrey’s son was infected at the end of January 2022 when the nephropediatric services sounded the alarm, concerned about the unusual number of emergency visits for hemorrhagic diarrhea, often accompanied by abdominal cramps and vomiting: 58 in the first 10 weeks of the year, including only one in the Occitania region. Two children died!

Luckily, Noah was released from the hospital on March 12 with a salt-free diet and a lifetime ban on taking anti-inflammatories. A lesser evil than a few weeks earlier his life prognosis was questioned.
At the time, Audrey hadn’t made the connection to the pizza eaten at the end of January. “My son was vomiting in early February when he was diagnosed with gastrointestinal disease… 3 weeks later he was diagnosed with severe HUS with Acute Kidney Failure. »

But before coming to the diagnosis, Audrey had to insist that doctors do additional analysis. “One day my son was transferred by helicopter to the pediatric intensive care unit in Lille. We had to prepare for the worst. »

“Our life has changed”

Two blood transfusions finally decided otherwise. From now on, Audrey, like many other parents of children who are victims of this syndrome, wants to share her experiences. And she responds to concerned parents who ask her about a son or daughter with diarrhea that won’t go away. But Quentin, Noah’s father, admits: “Our lives were rocked by horror and fear on March 4, 2022… Not a day goes by without the fear of starting again. »

The testimonies multiply between fear and incomprehension. Parents also evoke ignorance of the disease as contamination processes. “At the SOS doctor’s, the doctor tells us that it can’t be the pizza because it’s baked,” says Latifa.

And yet analyzes have in fact revealed the presence of E. coli, the bacterium at the origin of HUS, in the Fraîch’Up dough eaten by many victims, which explains the current over-representation of cases, according to Public Health France.

“The investigation is ongoing,” warned the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Protection and Fraud on March 18, while Buitoni recalled all unsold items and urged consumers to throw out those in their fridge.

Also read:
Product recall: E.coli bacteria detected in Buitoni frozen pizza dough

A minimum for Audrey, who “has no intention of stopping there”. Like them, there are already more than 1,000 members in the “SHU – Sortons du Silence” group to consider legal action so responsibilities can be established.

Epidemiology: As E. coli becomes HUS, the hemolytic uremic syndrome

  • DEFAULT. Escherichia coli makes up 80% of the bacteria in our digestive tract. It can also be found in water after it has been contaminated by human or animal excretions. THE. Coli is harmless in most cases, but some strains are pathogenic.
  • L’INCIDENCE. It varies by age group. It reaches its maximum in children under 3 years of age. In France, the largest epidemic related to contaminated frozen minced meat dates back to 2005. Health authorities had registered 69 cases, 57 of which were in children under the age of 13.
  • PERIOD D’INCUBATION. It lasts from 2 to 10 days, and development is favorable in 90% of cases.
  • SYMPTOMS. If the bacterium is responsible for an intestinal infection, this will manifest itself as diarrhea, which may or may not be accompanied by abdominal pain. In less virulent cases, this diarrhea may resolve spontaneously in about a week. In 10% of cases, the episode is complicated by bloody diarrhea (hemorrhagic colitis accompanied by abdominal cramps). HUS (Haemolytic Uremic Syndrome) particularly affects young children and the elderly. One of the symptoms is that the child stops urinating.
  • LA PREVALENCE. Since 1996, 100 to 165 HUS cases have been registered in France every year. It is the leading cause of acute kidney failure in children under the age of 3 years.

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