LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – People are growing increasingly concerned after a girl in northwest Arkansas contracted a kidney disease after attending a fair.
According to sister station KFSM, Mariah Center was diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome just days after showing her lambs at the Washington County Fair. The aggressive kidney disease can be caused by animals.
She is currently being treated at Arkansas Children’s.
"In the recent years, the flu has known to cause it. More commonly it is from a G.I. bug called E. Coli,” Dr. Nithin Karakala said.
Karakala, an assistant professor at UAMS, said he has only seen about 10 to 15 cases of it in the past four years.
"Europe had a large outbreak five, six years ago. But most of the cases in this country have been mostly sporadic,” he said.
He said the infection could be contagious, but it is highly preventable. He also said this case is likely not an outbreak.
"If you are at a state fair, you are petting animals and all those things and you need to make sure you have good hand hygiene before you go back to eat,” Karakala said. "Either use water and soap or rubbing alcohol."
The infection can only be consumed, which is why it is so important to constantly wash your hands. Although deadly, Karakala said Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome is also highly treatable if symptoms are caught early.
"You will see bloody bowel movements,” he said. "About 80 percent recover and even their kidney function recovers.”
Friends have set up a GoFundMe to help Center’s family with funds. Her parents are driving back and forth to Little Rock as often as they can.
If you would like to help out the family, click here.